As we consider the growing epidemic of anxiety and depression in America, we must consider the concept of hope. The Bible tells us that the God of the Bible is a God of hope, a God of purpose and future glory for all who follow Him (read Jeremiah 19:4-23, esp. verse 11). Yet the defining attitude of someone stuck in deep anxiety or depression is a sense of hopelessness. It stands to reason, then, that faith in an all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful God is central to building resilience in the face of hopelessness. Consider these statistics about millennials and their attitudes toward God and the Christian church (from Barna Trends 2017):
59% of millennials who grew up in the church have since dropped out.
Of those who dropped out, the most common reasons they cite are that church is not relevant to them personally (35%), they can find God elsewhere (30%), and they can teach themselves what they need to know about God (17%).
With this trend towards walking away from a traditional church- and Bible-based faith in God among millennials, should we anticipate the upcoming generation of leaders to be strapped with anxiety and depression, steeped in hopelessness?
And what about the general church-going public? How do they feel about the value of the Christian church today? Shockingly, less than 10% of Americans who attended church reported learning anything about God or Jesus from the service that week. Less than 10%. Ouch.
Jesus said that his burden (as opposed to that of the world) is easy and light, and that He offers us rest for our souls (read Matthew 11:28-30). If that’s true, and I believe it is, we may be in for a very bumpy ride in the coming decades as people of all walks of life are seeking out fulfillment in places other than the Christian church.
Questions for thought:
What is your attitude toward church? Do you make it a weekly priority? Why or why not?
How can you personally be part of the fundamental changes that need to take place in the church today for people to begin experiencing the deep rest and peace that only Jesus offers?