January 13 – Will They Still Love Him Tomorrow?

It’s been a very good week. The week started well with good LPC worship on the Lord’s Day. On Sunday evening I met with our Confirmation students as I do once a month, reaping all the good sown by our Sunday morning team the other weeks of the month.

I love my time with the confirmation kids, and if I hadn’t said this almost every other year, I’d say this year’s class is my favorite yet.  Let’s just leave it that it’s a great group of kids. Eleven of them this year, all ninth graders except for one wonderful eleventh grader. They are smart, lively, engaging, fun – I like Sunday evenings with the confirmation students.

Our topic this past Sunday was worship and we were trying to figure out how any of our students might explain Christian worship to their (many) friends who never attend church, let alone are active in it. All on its own the conversation wandered into a discussion about what our kids like about LPC.

They don’t just like LPC, they love LPC.  They love their church because it is their church.  They love a church that cares about them and has provided a second-to-none youth program for them. They love the adults who call them by name and ask how they are doing.  They love opportunities to care and serve whether it is a work day at the Rescue Mission or a work week on the Gulf Coast or in Appalachia. They love the fact that they are beginning to understand worship and sermons and are asked to participate in the life of the church.

They really do love their church and I loved hearing about it.

And they are coming to love the Jesus who is the Head of the Church and is calling them into a deeper relationship with himself.

No wonder I love my Sunday evenings with the confirmation kids.  They love Jesus. But will they still love Him tomorrow?

Sunday set the tone of an entire week that was a good week.  Lots to do and too much left undone, but it was a good week. Yesterday afternoon I met with the Philadelphia leadership of an organization called the Coalition for Christian Outreach, or the CCO. The CCO is a ministry organization that has been called to reach out to college students. I first heard of the CCO while I was in Western Pennsylvania. They are headquartered in Pittsburgh, but in recent years they have sensed a strong call to grow their ministry in Philadelphia.

The CCO folks tell us that other than the possible exception of the Boston area, there is no place in the country that is more college-rich than Philadelphia.  There are over 100 campuses in our area and 300,000 college students.  A good case can be made that college students are the largest “unreached peoples” group in the United State in terms of Christian outreach and ministry. Someone once said something about the fields being white unto harvest.

The CCO is one of the mission causes supported in our Mission Budget and we will be telling your more about their work.

But there’s something the CCO folks told me that really bothers me. They cited the statistic that 70% of Christian students fall away from the Christian faith while in college.  I had heard the number before, but it still bothers me.

I am thinking about those eleven wonderful confirmation students I meet with one Sunday evening a month. I am thinking about their joy and exuberance, their energy and enthusiasm, their eagerness for life. I am thinking about their love for the church and the growing love for Jesus who calls them into the family called the church.

Will they still love Him tomorrow?  Or in ten years?  Statistically, we can realistically expect no more than three, maybe four or those bright young disciples to be following Jesus ten years from now. Most of them will have finished college and found a job. Some may be married. But will they still love Him?

Statistics are simply what’s left after all the numbers are crunched. They may not lie, but they don’t always tell the truth, either. The truth of the matter is that we can help make a difference in the lives of our confirmation students and their brothers and sisters older and younger. How?

  • We can support the efforts of ministries like the CCO.
  • We can support the nurture and discipleship that happens in our own LPC ministry with youth and young adults.
  • We can remember to call the kids of the church by name and ask them how they’re doing – and listen to their answer because we care.
  • We can encourage our parents as they seek to make their homes Christ-centered and places where Christ is honored as he is increasingly dishonored in the world of campus and mall.
  • We can, we must, pray for our students that they will still love Him tomorrow. And in ten years.

Will they still love Him tomorrow? Pray that they do.