(Orange, Texas)

April 20, 2013

Someone must sound the alarmĀ 

Charles Holt
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — On this page of the LEADER about a month ago was an article written by Terry Mattingly, the director of the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. I hope many of you had the opportunity (or took the time) to read what Mr. Mattingly said. In the column he quotes a Mr. Yoder who wrote his “Top 10 Reasons our Kids Leave Church.”

Mr. Yoder bases his observations “on face-to-face conversations he has had with college students and 30-something agnostics and atheists in San Antonio.”

Every churchgoer, regardless of denomination, should read the facts Yoder gives and Mattingly quotes. They are in perfect harmony with other statistics I have read from other reliable sources, painting a dark picture of the church-going habits and activities of many upper teens.

To put it bluntly, we are losing the battle. According to some reports I have previously read I knew that our youth could (seemingly) have, and keep, a measure of spirituality through High School but once they enter college things really begin to change. They begin that change into what is being called: the unaffiliated.

Yoder says, “Many young people have never been to a real church, since they were raised to multi-media nurseries and then taken into hip services built around jumbo video screens and rock bands. ‘They’ve never sat on a pew between a set of new parents with a fussy baby and a senior citizen on an oxygen tank,’ he argued. In short, many have never seen faith applied to the full timeline of real life.”

Mattingly’s last quote by Yoder is a real stinger. Speaking of this group of the unaffiliated (drop-outs, agnostics, atheists, et al.), Yoder says, “The church is simply a place to learn life-application principles to achieve a better life…. You don’t need a crucified Jesus for that.”

Whoa! One may be the member of the best church but without “a crucified Jesus” it is religion only, pure and simple. One may be highly moral and ethical but without “a crucified Jesus” there is no hope of eternal life or “salvation by grace through faith” which alone answers every person’s sin needs.

The “unaffiliated” numbers are on the rise. In just the last five years it has grown from 15 percent to 20 percent. If ever we needed “a voice crying in the wilderness,” it is today. Is anyone listening?