Christian Youth Leadership

2 Christian Youth-Leadership Imperatives

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Christian Apologetics, Christian Revival, Youth Apologetics

2 Christian Youth-Leadership Imperatives

Flourish or Flounder. Neither is Easy

By Brace E. Barber July 20, 2016 Christian Apologetics Speaker

There is one major content change and one major process change that will separate failing youth groups from flourishing youth groups over the next five years. The differences between the two will not even be close. Failing groups will lose members and atrophy while the others will grow in members and confidence. Those that grow will be lead by bold men and women who are confident in what they know and prepared to take on the world. Strong Christian Youth-Leadership is critical and it’s called for.

2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NIV) For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

The biggest battle you will have as a youth leader is in the next five minutes reading this article. The suggestions I’m making are not easy to accept. However, if you can come to grips with the scope of the changes that I’m suggesting, then you can take the first steps towards that flourishing. I’ll make it easier for you to stomach. Don’t agree with anything I’m saying, but for the next few minutes, just treat this as an intellectual exercise with no obligations.

The Two Current Measurements

Attendance: In most youth groups there is one concrete measurement – attendance. We make a number of assumptions based on attendance.

  • More kids means that we are doing something right, fewer means that we are doing something wrong.
  • The kids who are there
    • are internalizing the teaching
    • are strengthening their faith
    • will be able to evangelize effectively
    • have a better chance of remaining a Christian throughout their lives

Attrition: Approximately 75% of Kids raised in Christian homes leave the faith after high school.

See: T.C Pickney Remarks: Southern Baptist Convention

See: Josh McDowell and David H. Bellis book The Last Christian Generation

There Exists a Disconnect

The only way can we miss that three-quarters of our kids will leave the Church after high school is if we are not looking for the signs. You might think that the majority of those kids are the kids who do not attend youth group regularly. Take a look at the 2009 book, The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church. “90% of youth active in high school church programs drop out of church by the time they are sophomores on college.”

Lack of Information

The disconnect is the lack of information we have about our youth and their progress as Christians. We aren’t looking at the right signs. We should not have attendance as our ultimate goal, but rather salvation. Measuring attendance and even baptisms don’t give us what we need to stop the loss of our kids from Christianity.

Attendance may tell us how many kids are creating strong relationships with Christ, but it may also be telling us about how many kids want to hang out with their friends, how many are forced to go, how many have a boyfriend or girlfriend that they get to see, and how many want to impress an adult. We do not know how close their relationship with Christ is and what they are retaining from what is being taught. To make things more irritating, presuming that the things being taught are spot on biblically and that the teaching is clear and meaningful we know that 75% of them are rejecting it. I covered the main reasons why kids are rejecting the message here: Will Your Child Leave Christianity?

Here’s what we know so far. Kids are rejecting the teaching of the Church and leaving in droves. These kids would not leave the Church if they truly believed what was being taught. If the kids believe that the Church is teaching the truth then they will stay.

Finally the Suggestions

Content:

We must ensure that youth understand why the Gospel is the truth. In order to do that, we must support the claims of Christianity with evidence that they find credible. That sounds a lot like defending the faith, or Apologetics. You may have seen that one coming. In my opinion, apologetics has the most empirical evidence backing it as the solution to the problem, but it isn’t the only solution.

We have credibility issues with our kids because they don’t see their parents and church members living out their faith. However, if the best we can do is buttress the claims of Christianity with massive amounts of rock-solid evidence, WHICH WE CAN, then we will reverse the statistic. 75% of kids will remain in the faith after high school. The youth group will demonstrate strength and vitality as a result of the confidence in Christ and it is that environment that will begin to grow the Church again.

Testing:

We must measure the knowledge of our kids. If we do not test them, then we cannot know if they have the intellectual foundation to understand that Christianity is the truth. We can’t even know if they understand what it means to be saved. As it is now we have no expectations from the kids. We spend 18 years with them expecting them to pick up Christianity through association rather than academics. Sure, we do bible studies and speak to them a lot, but what do they take away? No one can tell me because we don’t measure it. We don’t test it.

When you look at the “What We Believe” sections on church websites, we see their core beliefs and the goals that they have for their different ministries including youth. Unfortunately, the most depth we see is typically that the church wants to prepare kids with a strong foundation in Christ. There is never any depth to what that really means. We don’t see any deliverables. Those goals should be spelled out in detail, by age and subject. “The Church will teach and test your child so that they know…” It may seem like parents are off the hook. Not at all. Everything I’m saying about youth groups is really the responsibility of the parent first.

Testing doesn’t just have to be academic in nature. The specific questioning of our youth with regard to relationships, perceptions, challenges etc. can give us a great deal of information that will give us a warning when a child is at risk of leaving the Christian Church. Get the kids used to testing, and you can measure anything you want.

Objections

There are a lot of practical objections to engaging in the suggestions I’ve presented. Where do the expertise and materials come from? What about theological intricacies that apologetics might confuse? How do I get the rest of the youth staff on board? We are already doing a great study and we have materials for the next year. I’m sure that I’m missing a bunch of reasons why not to begin the process, but if you agree with the premises and potential returns, I strongly suggest you begin to take steps toward implementing the suggestions.

Leadership Solutions

Leaders are by definition, leading. They are out front. They have an objective, they plan the most strategic path to achieve their objective, and then they move. The best leaders don’t move without knowing where they are going and why. I am working on apologetic solutions intended to allow youth leaders to implement the suggestions above with a full understanding of how to accomplish their goals. My purpose is to save souls and in the process we will fill youth groups, evangelize among young adults and begin revival in the Church.


Practical Help

Stay Tuned: I am in the process of completing two books due out in 2016 to address this problem. Sign up for my email updates to be the first to learn when they are released. Christian Apologetics Solution

  • The first book will lay out the practical how-to steps for keeping Christian kids Christian for Churches and parents.
  • The second book is a book covering 14 apologetic subjects with tools to make it as easy as possible for anyone to teach and learn.

Brace E. Barber is a Christian Apologetics Speaker focusing on teaching Churches how to immediately stop the loss of Christian kids from the Faith. See more at Christian Apologetics Speaker

Atheist Beliefs

Atheism’s Evidential Bankruptcy

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Apologetics, Atheism, Christianity, Evidence, Youth Apologetics

Atheist Beliefs and Absence of Evidence

By Brace E. Barber
Christian Apologetics Speaker

Our Assumptions About Atheist Beliefs are Wrong

The bankruptcy of the atheist position is critical for Christians to grasp. If we as Christians know that those with counter ideas have no evidence to back up their positions, then it encourages us to find the evidence that supports our position. We’ve assumed for too long that atheists have a lock on scientific evidence to back atheist beliefs, when the truth is that their lock is rusting on an old fence and they’ve lost the key. However, just because they don’t have evidence to support their beliefs doesn’t mean that it’s going to support God. We need to look at all of the evidence and see where it leads.

Atheists have been looking for evidence to support their positions as long as there have been atheists. They have not found any. So you ask, “But what about Evolution and the myth of Jesus and the unreliability of the Scripture?”

None. They’ve found none. When you look at the raw evidence, not the sugar-coated, secular conclusions that we are fed in school and on NOVA, you find that there is no evidence pointing to chance, which is the summation of all atheist beliefs. The evidence points to design and the historical accuracy of Scripture.

Why the Atheist Deception

So why do scientists deny the conclusions of the evidence?

  • Money – careers. If everyone is eating roadkill, you make money serving roadkill.
  • Denial of God as a possible conclusion. Atheists deny God as an option BEFORE they begin to look at the evidence. If you can only choose between doors 1 and 2, you never choose door 3.
  • No Challengers. Except for a few, Christians don’t rebut atheist beliefs with evidence of their own.

Atheists are now forced to present conclusions for their beliefs that are beyond the scope of evidence. They propose multiple universes, alien creation, secular meanings of life and morals. They suggest chimpanzees mated with pigs to create humans – no joke – and that the Bible is horribly corrupted despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Atheist Belief in Our Goldilocks Universe

Harry Cliff, the First Science Museum Fellow at University of Cambridge summarizes the creation situation well in his 2015 discussion about two inexplicably fine-tuned forces;

We live in one of the places in the multiverse where the two numbers are just right. We live in a Goldilocks universe. Now, this idea is extremely controversial, and it’s easy to see why. If we follow this line of thinking, then we will never be able to answer the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” In most of the multiverse, there is nothing, and we live in one of the few places where the laws of physics allow there to be something. Even worse, we can’t test the idea of the multiverse. We can’t access these other universes, so there is no way of knowing whether they’re there or not.[i]

If God Created the Universe

As we study the defense for the Christian faith, many of us can be intimidated by the prospect of finding evidence counter to our faith. The good news is and I will continue to repeat my premise that if God created the universe and everything in it, then all of the evidence will either point towards Him or at the very least will not point away from Him. Until recently most Christians have been hesitant to look at the evidence because the world has convinced them that science, history and philosophy are all counter to Christianity. The world has convinced us that we believe in something that is false and that we believe in it only on the basis of faith. They say that we have blind faith, unsupported by evidence.

Have faith, but don’t have blind faith. Blind faith means that you are not sharing the gospel with others. It means that you are unable to answer many legitimate questions of new believers and seekers. Give your faith an incredible evidential, intellectual foundation the kind that Paul begs us to have, and which he demonstrated in his life. Paul was a student. He was an intellectual who sought knowledge, gained knowledge and shared the knowledge in conversations with those with different worldviews. Ironically, this is the life that Atheists wish to have as well, but the lack of evidence to support Atheist Beliefs and their rejection of the God conclusion leaves them with blind faith.

Be Encouraged

Be encouraged that the case for Christianity is not closed. It is very much open and you can take a journey into a wonderful world that affirms and strengthens your faith.

Get the answers. Get the knowledge and fulfill the Great Commission!

Learn more at Youth Apologetics Speaker

[i] Have We Reached the End of Physics? December 2015 Harry Cliff, Science Museum Fellow at University of Cambridge. Conducting research into matter-antimatter asymmetry as part of the LHCb collaboration at CERN


Practical Help

Stay Tuned: I am in the process of completing two books due out in 2016 to address our ability to study the evidence. Sign up for my email updates to be the first to learn when they are released. Christian Apologetics Solution

  • The first book will lay out the practical how-to steps for keeping Christian kids Christian for Churches and parents.
  • The second book is a book covering 14 apologetic subjects with tools to make it as easy as possible for anyone to teach and learn.

Brace E. Barber is a Christian Apologetics Speaker focusing on teaching Churches how to immediately stop the loss of Christian kids from the Faith. See more at Christian Apologetics Speaker

The Atheist’s Plea

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Atheism, Christianity, Evidence, Youth Apologetics

In his recent address to the 2016 Reason Rally, Richard Dawkins claims and I’m quoting, that

“You and I and every other living creature are machines of ineffable (overwhelming) complexity. This complexity and its powerful illusion of design is why so many people succumb to the God temptation. The temptation to evade, by invoking a designer, the responsibility to explain.”

Is he right?! Are Christians closing their eyes to the evidence and seeking an evasion from the responsibility to explain the cause of the apparent design? It seems that the only explanation that would be satisfactory is one of total chance. The question presumes that at some deeper level of scientific inspection there will cease to be an apparent design and then science can conclude that life was really caused by natural causes – time and chance.

Let’s put Christianity to the test. Here’s my premise:

“If God created everything then all evidence will support that conclusion or at the very least it will not contradict that conclusion.”

Skeptics will try to show how evidence contradicts the existence of God, while believers attempt to examine the evidence to see if it is reasonable to conclude that God exists.

Dawkins goes on and is emphatic that,

“The complexity of a living body, every one of it’s trillion cells, is so mind shattering!”

And he compares it to a conjuring trick, a magic trick that though you want to believe it, you must stop and remind yourself that it’s not a miracle.

Dawkins, like most of the celebrity atheists, begs us to wait for the future evidence that will presumably point to a rational explanation supporting natural causes. When you listen to enough atheists you realize that the discussion isn’t about reason or evidence, it’s about brushing aside the conclusions to which the evidence points in order to hope for new evidence that points away from God.

Dawkins, like the others, are really saying,

“It’s totally reasonable to conclude that there is a designer based on the evidence, but I beg you to withhold your decision until further evidence can be obtained.”

This is the best appeal that Atheists have today.

“WAIT! Please! I know that the evidence points to a designer; a creator, but it is irrational to be a Christian.”

Understand that despite the hoopla and the intellectual façade, atheists have moved beyond evidence into the world of imagination. Their theories are out of evidence, unfortunately, their pens are not out of ink and they are destroying the faith of this generation. You, as a Christian, stand squarely on the mountain of evidence and have no need to move. Read on….

  • Celebrity Atheist and Theoretical Physicist, Lawrence Krauss says that the nothing from which the Universe came is not really nothing. Nothing does not really mean nothing.
  • Celebrity Atheist Neil deGrasse Tyson and many others, say that there are an infinite number of universes and that the incredible precision of dozens of forces are a fortunate accident. Oh, and the multi-verse may have been created by superior alien beings.
  • Celebrity Atheist Sam Harris argues that though everything exists as the result of some remarkable accident, there exists a set of objective moral standards to which everyone is obligated.
  • Celebrity Atheist and New Testament Scholar Bart Ehrman himself in his book, “Misquoting Jesus,” admits, “the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.” Yet he argues that we cannot know that we have the inerrant word of God.

It’s fair to have questions. The answers are available.


Practical Help

Stay Tuned: I am in the process of completing two books due out in 2016 to address this problem. Sign up for my email updates to be the first to learn when they are released. Christian Apologetics Solution

  • The first book will lay out the practical how-to steps for keeping Christian kids Christian for Churches and parents.
  • The second book is a book covering 14 apologetic subjects with tools to make it as easy as possible for anyone to teach and learn.

Brace E. Barber is a Christian Apologetics Speaker focusing on teaching Churches how to immediately stop the loss of Christian kids from the Faith. See more at Christian Apologetics Speaker