Drawing the “Nones” to Christ - Elizabeth Ross
A growing number of our population here in the United States identify with “none” as their faith of choice. Perhaps more people than ever worship entertainment, or even money, in our culture. When filling out faith questionnaires, no box is labelled “youth and beauty,” for example. All human hearts desire to worship, and yet many hearts are misdirected unknowingly. We know that this kind of depravity is a sign of the end times. It upsets those of us who strive to please God, yet at the same time we know that we often fall short of giving Him our full heart, soul, mind and strength.
Seek to Understand
Screen time is a tempting way to relax, for those habituated to it. Watching an old movie while eating popcorn on the couch can be a great balm to the weary soul. The people who identify their faith as “none” often try to fulfill their desire for worship with food, games, people, work, and entertainment rather than seeking after God. They misunderstand, and they feel misunderstood.
Live Authentic Lives
Reaching out to a person in your life who is quietly or blatantly opposing God can be difficult. The apostle Paul's exhortation to Timothy is a good example for us in these trying times:
Chances are you have a “none” kind of person in your life. Remember, if a person cannot be won over with words, the best thing to do is to be a living example of your faith. We believe that we are saved by grace, and that is a gift from God. Are you showing grace in your interactions with those quiet or difficult people in your life?
Unconventional Encounters with God
A growing number of God-fearing Christians are being called to minister directly to our community in the areas where youths congregate. Our children and young adults, collectively called the Millenial generation, or Millenials, are being taught some very concerning things by media and public schools.2 One youth explains, “Even if there was a God, believing that His Son, Jesus, is the only way to God is so arrogant. It is so intolerant of you to judge other religions and think that you are the only one who is right.” 3 This kind of concept has been around for generations, but unfortunately this generation is by and large being brought up with such beliefs.
These children and young adults have spent 7-8 hours, 5 days a week, 7 months a year being fed this kind of thinking: the idea is that Christians need to keep quiet because we’ve had just too much of a voice over the past 2,000 years. Teachers are saying that it’s time to move over and let the other religions have the larger voice.2 They are forcing the issue.
Some of you have seen the movie God's Not Dead. The kind of antagonism that the professor displays by mocking the student's faith is no longer uncommon, even at much younger ages. Of course there are those youth who have been raised in more protective environments and in Christian schools and Universities.
After school or work, a great majority of these Millenial youth come home and watch TV and play on the internet. They watch funny videos on YouTube. Here is another quote from Christopher Hitchens: “Believe in Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and Jesus Christ: All are fantasy, your parents just forgot to tell you about Jesus.”5
Will we leave these millions of people with this impression, or will we take a stand in the places where these people are? The schools, the parks, the downtown area, and on YouTube or local TV… those are places that God-fearing Christians are being called to minister. How can you be a part of this, taking part in unconventional encounters with God?
Prayer is a great way to reach our loved ones and also those who are hurting. We can actually pray for anyone as we walk along the street.
What is lacking is a dedicated mentorship network for these youth. Who will step up to model humility, patience and generosity? Who shares these values with the youth they encounter in a nonjudgmental way, honoring God by walking alongside the wayward youth to lead them into His righteousness?
A Call for Action
National Teacher of the Year, Shanna Peeples, was a disc jockey, pet sitter, medical assistant and reporter before acknowledging her calling. She admitted that she “tried to resist becoming a teacher.”
"I think I was afraid of it because I knew I was going to love it in a way that was going to be pretty consuming, and it was," Peeples said. "As a reporter, I covered schools, and the more I was in those classrooms, the more I wanted to stay in those classrooms. And so I thought, I just need to go ahead and get over myself and do this."2 Although not all of us are called to be teachers, many of us are called to reach out. The same principle of motivation applies.
Our Current Dilemma
Paganism is making a resurgence. Atheist agendas are being pushed through commercials and video shorts that make fun of faith in anyone or anything at all. Young women are being taught to worship the moon and think of themselves as “goddesses.”2 The Lord’s name is taken in vain and used as a derogatory statement.
“…In a 2007 poll by the Pew Research Center, 83 percent of Millenials said they ‘never doubted God’s existence.’ In 2012, that number decreased to 68 percent – a 15-point drop in five years.”3
It can be daunting to think about the masses of people who do not know Christ in a loving way. Please think of this as a call to action and encouragement to reach out to one of the “nones” in your life.
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
2 Timothy 2:11-131