Recently, one of my new adult leaders asked me, “Why don’t we talk about the Holy Spirit more with our high school students? It seems like we’re very focused on Jesus.”
Truthfully, this is a pretty fair assessment of my high school ministry: It is very Jesus-focused. Here’s why:
1. I spent the last year researching what students in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (the denomination in which I currently serve) believe about Jesus. What I learned from this national study was that 56 percent of students surveyed (all of whom were active in local congregations) either did not believe or did not know Jesus was God. Additionally, 58 percent either believed it was possible to be a Christian without believing in Jesus or didn’t know if Jesus was crucial to the Christian faith. This means that many of today’s church kids don’t know or understand why Jesus matters – to their faith or their lives.
2. According to Kenda Creasy Dean in Almost Christian , Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD), an “alternative religious vision of divinely underwritten personal happiness and interpersonal niceness,” is quickly replacing our traditional, historical religious traditions. While the guiding beliefs of MTD involve God, Jesus is absent. As a result, Dean suggests “Christian spirituality requires a particular kind of conversation that reinforces the church’s unique understanding of who God is in Jesus Christ. To state it bluntly: Conversational Christianity requires Jesus-talk, not just God-talk.”