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“I Had a Bad Experience at Church”

The final argument that we’ll consider from young people who find obstacles to their faith is having a bad experience among brethren. Because the church is composed of human members, there inevitably will be conflicts. So no matter how good the congregation is, everyone will have a bad experience eventually.

Many churches are aging, and while aging can be graceful and beautiful, some aged members, sadly, become curmudgeonly. This bitterness and arrogance toward anything new, such as technology, can be frustrating and therefore discouraging for our young people. Additionally, always assuming that the younger generation will apostatize and wreck the Lord’s church shows no confidence in what young people can become. But there are amazing examples of young people like Joseph, Daniel, and Esther who embody great faithfulness. Believe it or not, at one point in your youth, no one probably had any confidence in you!

Another issue that’s detrimental to the faith of our young people is the fussing and squabbling that goes on in some congregations. It’s been shocking to hear of brethren who are essentially ready to get into fistfights in the foyer or during business meetings. Why do some brethren want to “bite and devour” one another (Galatians 5:15)? Enmity and strife are completely contradictory to the teachings of the kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21). Paul even had to make a special appeal to two people about their working together: “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord” (Philippians 4:2). And even when we know of issues that exist among brethren, God tells us how to fix them (Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15-17). While we may feel that making our point and having our way is an inalienable right, it is not right when it destroys the faith of others. God encourages us to be longsuffering and forgiving (Ephesians 4:31-32).

Older Christians have to be particularly sensitive to the way criticism and disagreements are seen by our children and young people. While this was the objection with the smallest percentage, it still draws the young away from the faith.

Kyle Campbell

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