USA (MNN) — U.S. celebrity Christians issued faith denials and reprimands via social and broadcast media in recent months. Doug Hutchcraft with Ron Hutchcraft Ministries says believers should keep these events in mind if they work with young people.
“A lot of young people have a hard time discerning between the messenger and the message,” Hutchcraft observes. “So, when someone [they] respect [and] follow – when they fall it can really do a lot of spiritual damage.”
Harris, Sampson reject Christianity
First, Joshua Harris, author of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”, and Hillsong singer/song writer Marty Sampson denied their faith on Instagram within weeks of each other. Then, Skillet lead singer John Cooper posted this reaction on Facebook, and Franklin Graham – president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse – voiced his concerns on Fox News.
Harris and Sampson’s statements may have doubled the doubt in young believers’ hearts. “I’ve worked with young people my entire life – believers [and] unbelievers. It’s [a] spiritually skeptical generation and the enemy knows that,” Hutchcraft says.
As previously noted by Barna Research and covered in MNN articles here, here, and here, members of the next generation increasingly question Christianity and the Bible. Nearly half of Christian Millennials frown upon faith-sharing. Generation Z has the least believers of any generation in U.S. history.
“A lot of times, young people are the most vulnerable to the collapse of a hero,” Hutchcraft continues, adding that disappointment triggered by fallen leaders can sometimes shake a believer’s faith.
“If you want to disillusion the older generation, bring down someone like a pastor or big radio personality. But, if you want to disillusion the younger generation, have it be one of these ‘heroes’ – especially ones that they follow on social media, on Instagram.”
While faith denials may be challenging for youth ministry, they can also provide Gospel opportunities.
How to respond to faith denials
“If we are going to… help these young people that are really disillusioned, we’ve got to constantly direct worship, loyalty, and trust away from messengers and to the Man who is the message, to the Man hung on the cross,” Doug Hutchcraft adds.
“Stick to Jesus. Anyone who loved me enough to die for me will never do me wrong.”
Visit Ron Hutchcraft Ministries here for resources to help you reach others for Christ and disciple young believers in their faith.
Header image obtained via Wikimedia Commons.