Jul 1, 2015

Atheist Kids...They Exist...They Can Be Reached

A few weeks ago, a girl who had been brought to our church by a friend, told us she is an atheist.  She was very clear that she did not believe in God or what we were teaching.

This is not as uncommon as you might think.  Atheism is on the rise...even making it's way into the hearts of kids.  This is due to four primary factors. 

#1 - Parental influence.  The number one influence in a child's life is his or her parents.  1 out of every 4 unchurched adults are agnostics or atheists.  As the percentage of adults who are atheists goes up, the natural outcome is the percentage of children who are atheists goes up.  Add to that the fact that the largest percentage of atheists are under 30.  These young adults are and will be the parents of the next generation of kids.  As goes parents...so goes children.

#2 - Rejection of the Bible.  Interesting enough, a large percentage of skeptics had some regular exposure to the Bible as children.  But at some point in their life they have chosen to reject it as God's Word and not submit to its authority in their lives.

#3 - Lack of trust for the local church.  Interesting statistic - 2/3rds of skeptics have attended church in the past...most for an extended period of time.  But church scandals and abuse has turned many of them away from belief in God.  Since the church is a tangible expression of faith for most people, when it becomes overtly flawed, it flaws their faith.

#4 - Cultural reinforcement of a secular worldview.  This is a huge factor.  Humanism and postmodernism engulfs many children through media, school, celebrities, friends, social media, political messaging and more.  The website www.kidswithouGod.com is a great example of kids being targeted by atheists.
 
Recently, the area of the country I minister in was voted the #1 "never-churched" area in the country. We are surrounded by kids and families who are not believers...and so are you.   

So how are we going to reach them?

We must keep our focus outward.  The issue is not how many people attend your church.  The issue is how many people in your area do not attend church anywhere.  That's the number that should keep us up at night.  Yes...we have a lot of people attending our church...but it's a drop in the bucket when you consider the 1.5 million people in our area who do not attend church anywhere.  If we are going to reach unbelievers, we must focus our attention on the Great Commission.  The Gospel still works, if we will work the Gospel. 

Our campus in New York City actually meets in an atheist church building...right across the street from Central Park.  Yes...you read it right...an atheist "church."  I guess they get together to talk about "nothing."  Anyways, they meet on the 3rd floor and we meet on the 2nd floor.  Cool thing...several atheist have accidentally walked into our service, stayed and came to faith in Jesus! 

We must reach parents.  As previously stated...atheist kids come from atheist parents.  Reach parents and you will reach their kids.  I talk more about how to reach parents in this previous post.

We must equip our kids to share their faith and bring their unbelieving friends to church.  Kids can reach kids who are unbelievers.  Just this past weekend, an elementary boy was baptized who had been brought to church by his friend.  Kids can reach kids if we give them the tools they need.

We must pray.  Prayer can melt a heart of unbelief through the power of the Holy Spirit.  I have see Him do it.  I am thinking right now of three people who were hardened atheists that I have personally seen come to faith in Christ.  

Will you join me in praying for the little girl I told you about at the beginning of this post?  Will you join me in praying for kids and families across the country and around the world who do not believe in Jesus yet?

Yes...kid atheists exists...I've met them...and yes...they can be reached.

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