My name is Rebekah Genung. I am 21 and have been working for Blazing Grace since I was 17. I’ve been travelling with my dad for the ministry since I was 14.
What I see with youth these days is that most of them are hungry and searching for fulfillment. If they are not finding it at home or the church then they will try to find it somewhere else like inappropriate relationships, entertainment, sex, drugs, alcohol – or the occult. With 75% of youth walking away from the church, many are not finding God in those places.
I went to a Christian school, but it was far from perfect. Some of what I saw included:
A classmate of mine got pregnant right before she got married.
In my younger sister’s class, a kid got caught looking at pornography on the school library computers. In her same class, two boys were masturbating in the school bathrooms while watching porn.
There were always rumors about who was sleeping with who in the upperclassmen.
Several of my classmates, after we graduated, came out as gay or changed their pronouns.
A group of girls got caught vaping in the bathrooms.
The occult is being marketed to youth on a widespread basis. I don’t think most parents know this. Zodiac signs and astrology have become a huge trend in the past couple of years. I see a lot of youth getting into the occult starting off with astrology and zodiac signs, and I don’t think many know that is a part of witchcraft. I have gotten videos on my Instagram of girls around 13-16 years old showing how to cast spells to get what you want, and I don’t search for those videos. Since it has become a trend, there is way too easy of access on the occult. There are books in just about every bookstore and mall as well as accessories for the zodiac signs.
At my church youth group, it felt just like high school. There were cliques and it felt hard to fit in or make new friends. There was a foosball and air hockey table, and always loud music playing. Not that there is anything wrong with those things, but I feel like that is what the kids focused on more. The messages were always short. I didn’t feel prepared for the real world, on the topics discussed that youth are struggling with and want answers to, like porn, depression, suicide.
Since we have moved from Colorado to Arizona in 2020, we have gone to a lot of churches trying to find a home church. I’m not going to lie, most of them were boring and didn’t challenge or teach me anything new. There were some sermons that felt like I had heard from middle school, or at a head Christian level. I once heard a pastor say that what he was going to tell us we would forget within an hour of leaving. It has only happened a few times when I hear a message that actually gets to my heart.
I have never heard a sermon mention how dangerous the occult is and how easily it has taken a grip on the youth, or other issues we need help with. If no one talks about sex, the occult, spiritual warfare, prayer, or what is right and wrong in God’s eyes then I am not surprised that 75% of youth are leaving the church. My friend told me recently that she has a hard time trying to pray and doesn’t even know how to. She had attended church for 10 years. Recently, she stopped going. We are not being equipped on how to live the Christian life or given a faith worth dying for. Thankfully my dad taught me about these topics and how to take up my authority in Christ when I get attacked by the enemy. That is not the case for many.
It is hard to find youth groups from ages 18-25 so I know that a lot of youth feel isolated and that they have to do everything on their own. Most of the churches I have visited don’t even have youth groups for this age range. If there are no resources or places to connect to in the church for youth and young adults, that is how you make isolated believers.
75% of youth leaving the church is a crisis. Our youth are tomorrow’s leaders; if we’re not giving them a strong foundation in their faith, we have lost our way. We need to reach the youth and talk openly about these topics they are struggling with.
Which, I might add, many adults are too.