A question I hear regularly is, “where is the younger generation?” The simple answer is “not in church.” The more in depth answer is “doing a combination of what we taught them and the world encouraged them to do.” To keep things simple, I am going to look at our part in the answer. Unfortunately, we taught our children that church is optional (and probably without meaning to do so), that going to church is this thing we do when there isn’t something better to do. Far too often, we have taught our children that church is important unless there is sports practice or game, you were out late the night before, homework or other school activity. They learned the lesson well. Everything is more important than church. So that’s the problem. What do we do? My goal isn’t to beat you up but to pave a way forward.
Reprioritize – We need to leave behind the World’s priorities. The World’s priorities are not God’s priorities. The World if it has any regard for religious activity, sees such activity is completely optional and always a non-priority. God’s priority, on the other hand, is to give us the good stuff through the Means of Grace that we receive in the Divine Service. We should prioritize our life round receiving those gifts because those gifts are life and salvation.
Read together – I can’t stress having devotions together enough. We learn by example particularly when we are kids. As a part of reprioritizing, take time each day to read the Scriptures and the Small Catechism together. The Congregation in Prayer sheets are a good place to start. More importantly than the example, is the fact that the Holy Spirit works through the word to make us holy and our day holy.
Reach out – It’s not too late for our kids who have drifted away from the church and Jesus. If your kids have drifted away there is still hope. Love them and keep sharing God’s word. Keep sharing how God gives us his good stuff in the Divine Service. Remind them gently that God doesn’t view the Divine Service as optional. And keep praying.
The above is just a basic starting point. And I would encourage you to dig deeper. You can get involved in Pr. Schlote’s Joining Jesus class or his First Things First gatherings. Or you can join in my Wednesday Bible study which is livestreamed and posted on YouTube – we study books of the Bible but we also hit on these topics as God’s word brings them up. And as you go out, know that you are in my prayers.