As the father of two boys (14 and 10), a recent article at
caught my attention. In it, author Kenda Creasy Dean argues that most
teenagers in American churches have a case of “fake” Christianity. Some

“Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what
she calls ‘moralistic therapeutic deism.’ Translation: It’s a
watered-down faith that portrays God as a ‘divine therapist’ whose chief
goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.”

“Though three out of
four American teenagers claim to be Christian, fewer than half practice
their faith, only half deem it important, and most can’t talk coherently
about their beliefs, the study found. Many teenagers thought that God
simply wanted them to feel good and do good.”

“No matter their
background, Dean says committed Christian teens share four traits: They
have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a
faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their

“The Christian call to take risks, witness and sacrifice
for others is muted, she says. ‘If teenagers lack an articulate faith,
it may be because the faith we show them is too spineless to merit much
in the way of conversation,’ wrote Dean, a professor of youth and church
culture at Princeton Theological Seminary.” (You can read the full
article here.)

This is a challenge to parents, pastors, youth
pastors and other leaders: We can’t assume that our kids are getting it
when it comes to committed Christian faith. We need to make sure they
hear the gospel and see it lived out in our lives.”

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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