12 May The Antichrist Commission: Why The Church is Losing Generations
Jesus commanded his followers to “make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).” Statistics suggest that the American Church is failing miserably at discipling our own nation, let alone other nations. Studies show that 99% of pastors believe that we are failing to do disciple adequately, and they are correct. 80% of Christians don’t participate in even a single discipleship activity. The result: for every 1 person being evangelized into the Church, 3 are leaving. The numbers go on and on, but they all tell the same story. We are not discipling our children, but someone else is… The fastest growing worldview is no longer Christianity. It’s not Islam either. It’s secularism. If Jesus gave us His Great Commission, how many of you know their is an antichrist counterfeit?
- To be clear, there are many reasons why the Church is failing to make disciples. I am not saying that this is the only area in need of adjustment, but it is a crucial one.
- Finally, It’s important to define discipleship as there are undoubtedly as many ideas of what discipleship is as there are people to have those ideas. According to Strong’s, the Greek word for disciple is defined as a student, pupil, or learner. For simplification let’s just consider it education (Christian in this case) with a relational element.
So where is this generation getting their education and who are they in relationship with? That is what we want to know. Who/what is training them to view the world and what message is being sent through these discipleship vehicles?
We can look at this in one of two ways, time or data. Let’s do both. There are 168 hours per week. Let’s pretend children and young adults actually get 8 hours of sleep. That leaves 112 hours per week for waking activities. Let’s also pretend that these are the really involved young-ins who go to church events on Wednesday and Sunday for 2 hours each, which leaves 108 hours. They are probably in school or working at least 40 hours per week, which leaves us with 68 hours. They also spend roughly 10 hours per day (70 per week) absorbing media. Family time is nominal. In most cases less than 4 hours per week. So here’s the profile breakdown of your average young American:
Media – 70 hours/week
Sleep – 56 hours/week
School/work – 40 hours/week
Church- 4 hours/week
Family – under 4 hours per week
So that deals with time. As for data, consider this. You can see how much time is spent receiving data from various sources. Now add to that the effectiveness of the vehicles used and the degree of attention that is likely to be given to each source. Media is by far the most effective communication technique, especially videos that use millions of dollars to orchestrate a complete lifestyle image combining both audio and video communication strategies. As an example, we are capable of reciting lines from our favorite childhood shows and songs, but ask us what we were taught in church just last week and you will likely find most of us at a loss. So, not only are our children being raised by these vehicles, these vehicles are also better funded and more effective in their ability to teach. This goes much deeper than we have time and space to discuss here, but I hope you are getting the idea.
Who is doing the discipling?
Based on this information, it becomes clear that both education and relationships are not primarily in the pastoral or familial realm. The primary relationships held by this generation are relationships with celebrities, bloggers, newscasters, etc. The sad fact is that even though they don’t have a real relationship with these people, millennials say that they trust these individuals as their source for truth. Believe it or not, the people on their screens are their number one source for understanding the world. Side note: there are some startling facts about the way people have imaginary relationships with celebrities. That’s the magic of media. It transports you into another world – another reality. In the process, it changes your understanding of actual reality. We connect on such a deep level that even though they don’t know our name, we often feel closer to certain celebrities than our own families. Consider this as a potential cause: based on the numbers we may be spending more time with a single celebrity than we are with our own families. Individuals in this generation are more likely to get their understanding of sexuality from someone like Kim Kardashian than their pastor, parent, or even teacher.
What’s being taught?
We’ve recognized the vehicles and the people driving the vehicles, but what exactly are the drivers driving into culture? What is being taught through these educational and relational avenues? This is involved as there is much being taught across every category of thought – sex, government, health, ethics, etc. However, I can sum it all up in one sentence for the sake of brevity. This generation is being taught how to view the world without God. They are being taught how to look at history without God, science without God, sex without God, marriage without God, ethics without God, family without God, etc. You get the point.
What should we do?
Sociologist James Davison Hunter says it beautifully:
“The challenge is to find a way of injecting into nations’ value systems the values, principles, and practices that most align themselves with God’s Kingdom. These injections must operate in the context of secular societies or even societies wherein their religious orientation is hostile to Judeo-Chrisitan ethics in political-economic arenas.” We must acknowledge this antichrist commission and combat it head on!
What can you do?
- Don’t reject the medium: It’s not that schools or media are inherently evil. It’s just that the message that is being spread through them is inherently evil.
- Get educated on culture and influence as well as the agendas and messages being sent through these vehicles.
- Be creative. Make a difference: God has given you brilliant ideas to influence the world and disciple nations. Break the mold. You don’t have to be a vocational pastor at a local church.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? How have you seen these influence structures fulfill the anti Christ commission. Leave a comment below and share to get your friends in on the conversation…
For more like this, check out 12 Ways Companies Are Discipling Nations!