Encouragement and disappointment go hand-in-hand. As encouraging as the many “Bright Spots” over the last 6 years of ministry at Reasons for Hope* have been, (Bright Spot: Trust God) there have also been seasons of disappointment—the no so “bright spots!” There is one story that really captures the difficulties we face as we do ministry in a dark and lost culture.
At the very beginning of rforh God opened the door for me to speak at a youth camp in Ohio. We take those opportunities very serious since that generation is under such attack.
During the camp it was amazing, a huge Bright Spot for sure. There were unbelievable opportunities to share with the students and have conversations away from the “stage” setting. Camps are fantastic for that reason. You don’t just speak and disappear like the church/seminar setting for the most part. You’re actually sharing life with each other and that opens amazing doors of opportunity to share.
The only problem is that camp has to end and students have to go back to the “real” world. After this camp there were a number of young people that stayed in touch with me. Brittany was one of the young ladies who did just that. Please allow me to share her email with you:
Mr. Kerby, I attended a camp that you spoke at this past summer. I am now a Freshman at Auburn University. I am planning to study in the field of science. I have always attended a Baptist Church with my parents. I was raised in a Christian home. Up until 6 months ago, I would call myself a devout Christian.
I was never taught about other religions aside from Christianity. I was just told that they were ‘wrong’. As you said at camp, the church has given ‘answers’ that don’t hold any water in a debate. I knew my beliefs would be questioned when I came to college; I just wasn’t expecting to not have reasonable answers. I am doubting my faith at this time. I can’t answer the questions that are asked of me, at least not with answers that I actually believe (I can easily repeat what was told me).
The professors and friends I have met have logical reasoning behind their beliefs; whereas, I lack any reasons I support. I found out within a matter of weeks that I was uneducated, ignorant, narrow-minded and didn’t stand a chance against the arguments and questions I was presented with. Now I am verging on not only seeing their side of the story but believing it. This genuinely scares me.
I do not want to believe that I have no purpose. That a god doesn’t exist. That everything I have been taught was a lie. Yet, is this why religion exists? To appease our fears? I am not one to easily be persuaded, but to say that I have been bombarded with facts, evidence and different religious views would be an understatement.
I don’t have answers to these questions. I hope that there is an answer.
Thank you for your time, BK
I spent a few weeks answering Brittany’s questions, sending her books and links to many articles to deal with the questions she was asking. She then “unfriended” me and I’ve not been able to connect with her since.
That’s one of my biggest not so Bright Spot over the last 6 years! Frankly, not knowing where Brittany stands today, breaks my heart. I do have peace in knowing that I did everything I could to encourage her, but ultimately it’s an individuals choice to either follow or flee Jesus Christ! None of us can decide for anybody else.
This was also a wake up call to me as a parent/grand parent. Please allow me to share a few points that I took away from this experience.
- Being raised in a Christian home and attending Church isn’t enough!
- Not teaching the next generation about what they are going to be confronted with when they leave home is very dangerous!
- Having youth “memorize” verses without having any idea how the verses apply to their lives will not work!
- Depicting the lost as “evil” or “stupid” will not work!
Parent, we see those first three issues in almost every church that we speak at. Please hear our heart, we’re not attacking you. We’re trying to shout to the Church that we need to wake up and get more active and change the way that we’re living.
We see children from Christian homes that go to church, don’t have a clue about issues that they’ll be confronted with, that can repeat what they’ve been told and think that lost people are stupid because they don’t believe in God.
Guess what, a few years later, they’re gone from the church!
We wish we could say that Brittany’s story is a rare occurrence, but the reality is that almost everywhere we go we have parents come up to us with a similar story. As Christian parents, this must be one of our worst nightmares.
As encouraging as our “bright spots” are, what really motivates us to do what we do is our desire to prevent stories like Brittany’s from ever happening. We are pumped every time we get an opportunity to equip parents and young people on how to defend our faith. We desire to strengthen the faith of the church and embolden youth to confront, with confidence, the ever-increasing hostility against Christians and their beliefs.
Please pray for us. We’ve decided to try and turn the not so Bright Spot into a spotlight of hope! Because of our experiences we have a theme for 2017 that we believe could have a huge impact. We’ll share that with you in the next couple of weeks. Hang on, it’s about to get exciting! Blessings and . . .
Carl Kerby is an inspiring, motivating and highly respected Christian speaker. With more than 20 years of ministry experience, Carl shares his extensive knowledge and understanding of God’s creation in his presentations, outreach events, books and other resources as the President and founding board member of Reasons for Hope, Inc.