As a minister, the “mission field” with which I’m primarily concerned is that difficult-to-understand and freakishly lost people group commonly referred to as “America’s youth.” This extraordinarily confused demographic is the tribe that I feel particularly called to reach.
American young adults, though living in a nation inundated with Christianity and founded upon Christian principles, have become (through parental neglect and ecclesiastical nonchalance combined with a heavy dose of liberal acrimony) completely secularized.
This demographic seems more disinterested in Christianity than PDiddy is in driving a Corolla. Face it, Church, generally speaking, young adults do not attend, en masse, our worship services—unless they’re forced to. Nor do they listen to or care about Christian radio, and the majority of them think Christian TV is weird (and they’re right). American youth live in a world that is foreign to the American Christian, and it’s hard for the well meaning saint to understand why they don’t “get it.” The gospel is completely plain to us, yet confusingly strange to them.
I believe the culpability flow chart regarding this generation’s indifference and ignorance lies partly on the shoulders of the youth and to a degree upon the churches that refuse to contextualize the gospel message. Certain ill-bred sectors of evangelicalism blame the youth for their obstinacy and the devil for his constancy—but never condemn itself for its belligerency towards contextualization.
We have failed as American missionaries to appreciate and bridge the Grand Canyon-sized ideological and communication chasms that exist between this secularized age group and their believing, biblical predecessors. And I hate to put responsibility upon the lazy believers, but the initial onus to adjust falls to us and not to them.