When Teens Wish They Could “Unpost” (Interview with Jonathan McKee)

Have you ever regretted something you posted on social media? Don’t feel bad, 57% of Americans who use social media have posted something they regret afterwards. And that’s just adults. Now jump into the brain of a 10-year-old. Yes, a 10-year-old. Nielsen research labels age 10 the “mobile adoption sweet spot” because the average age a child receives a smartphone today is 10.3 years-old. How is a 10-year-old supposed to make wise decisions with social media like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook? (especially when COPPA—Child Online Privacy Protection Act—regulates that you have to be at least 13 to be on Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook). Young people don’t think for more than 3 seconds before they hit SEND. Sadly, the pics they post, the rants they engage in… even the offhand comments they make… often have dire consequences. In law enforcement we deal with the fallout of these posts daily. If you’re familiar with our work here at ColdCaseChristianity.com, you know how important we think it is to equip and prepare the next generation of Christian Case Makers. Part of this mission is to help young Christians understand how to navigate social media and post wisely in an insecure world. To help do this, I thought I’d ask the guy who literally just wrote the book on it.

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How to Avoid An “Atheist Ambush” in University

If you’re a Christian, you already know the sad truth. Someone in your family (a son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, niece, or nephew) has already walked away, in spite of all the years you spent raising them in the church. I believe we can change this alarming trajectory, but we have to be willing to address the problem head on. If we are willing to do what it takes to respond to the trials facing the poor, the hungry, and the homeless, why won’t we do what it takes to respond to the challenges facing our own Christian family?

I write about the evidence for Christianity several times a week and post these articles (along with videos and podcasts) on my website (www.ColdCaseChristianity.com). I often get email from readers. One young man named Andrew Deane recently sent this message:

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Ex-Christians 101

"Why are young people leaving the faith?"

Since I began writing a book on the topic of reaching young ex-Christians, I’ve faced this question repeatedly. The embarrassing truth is that I can’t answer it. At least not simply.

Ask most Christians the question, though, and the answer is easy: they leave because of moral compromise. A teenage girl goes off to college and starts to party. A young man moves in with his girlfriend. Soon the conflict between their beliefs and behavior becomes unbearable, and they drop their faith commitment. They may cite intellectual skepticism or disappointments with the church, but don’t be fooled. These are just excuses, smokescreens designed to hide their real reason for going astray. “They change their creed to match their conduct,” as my parents would say.

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The Death of Youth Group

Ok, so that was just a provactive title to get you here. I’d like to start off saying I don’t have all the answers. I’m only 23, I don’t have a masters in theology, and I’m not a youth pastor. I have been in youth ministry leadership for a number of years, have had the opportunity to meet and dialogue with some forward thinking and innovative Christian leaders, and have been a “youth group kid” since puberty first reeled its awkward head in my life.

In my conversations with people who are thinking about ways to aid and engage the next generation, the same theme always seems to permeate our dialogue:

We need to move away from creating systems and events and begin seeing people more as individuals. In short, mentorship is a much more effective way to foster and grow young Christians….but it’s also a greater sacrifice.

Think about someone you know who’s just a stellar Christian. They’re passionate, live a life of integrity, and allow that life to spill generously to others. Maybe that’s you. I’ll bet you anything they attribute their lifestyle to someone that once stepped outside their busy schedule and personally invested in them, someone they could tell anything to (even their deepest, darkest junk). I have a friend who told me with a straight face once that she felt so comfortable around her mentor that she could tell her something as horrible as she just murdered someone without feeling judged or condemned.

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How Many Youth are Leaving the Church?

If you discovered about half of the students in your church's youth ministry were going to walk away from Christ after entering college, would you do something about it?  I hope so.  That's not a very good retention rate. 

But whatpercentage of Christian youth are actually leaving the church?  There’sbeen some debate about the actual number, with some saying as little as 4% will remain Christian, while others suggest there’s virtually no exodus.  Christian Smith tells us that evangelicals have been "behaving badly with statistics"and quickly dispenses with the 4% "panic-attack" stats.   But can weget some idea of the percentage of youth leaving the church withoutbeing irresponsible with numbers? 

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