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Raising a Biblically Illiterate Generation

A recent poll by Ligonier Ministries has revealed that 30% of Evangelicals do not believe Jesus was God and 65% believe Jesus was created by God.

The data in the survey reveals the dire need we have for teaching the next generation Biblical doctrine.

“…It’s clear that the church does not have the luxury of idly standing by. This is a time for Christians to study Scripture diligently, engage confidently with people in our culture, and witness fearlessly to the identity and saving work of Jesus Christ in the Gospel.”

Dr. Stephen Nichols, Chief Academic Officer of Ligonier Ministries and President of Reformation Bible College

Before children's ministry starts pointing fingers at adults who are Biblically illiterate, we must face the fact that many of them were raised in our ministries.

So why do so many of them not know or understand basic Biblical doctrines?

The answer is a simple one. We didn't teach them Biblical doctrine. Instead of making doctrine a key part of what we teach kids, we are teaching them lessons that are centered on character traits, lessons from movies and other topics while we marginalize teaching Biblical doctrine.

The result is a generation of kids who don't know why they believe key Biblical truths and who can't explain basic Bible doctrines.

It's time we stop pointing fingers at kids who walk away from the faith and start pointing fingers at ourselves. We have failed them. We have left them unprepared to articulate Bible doctrine. We have left them without a strong Biblical foundation to stand on.

Don't get me wrong. I believe kids should have fun learning at church. It should be an interactive, hands on, high-energy experience. The key in this is not the format or teaching style, rather it's about the content we are teaching kids.

We only have a short window of time to help kids get a solid Biblical foundation. It is crucial that we carefully examine what we are teaching in the time God has given us to influence the next generation.

Wonder how your ministry is doing when it comes to raising up kids who know the key doctrines of the faith? The quickest way to find out is to ask them to explain what they believe. Here are some examples of questions you can ask them.

  • Did God create the world and everything in it? Why do you believe this?

  • Is the Bible God's Word? Why do you believe this?

  • Who is Jesus?

  • Who is God the Father?

  • Who is the Holy Spirit?

  • Why did Jesus die on the cross?

  • What is the church?

  • Did Jesus rise from the dead? How do you know this?

  • Why is Jesus the only way to eternal life?

A survey was done among a group of "nones." By nones, it refers to people who have no faith. They would mark "none" when surveyed about their personal faith.

Here's the part that should be a wake up call for all of us. 78% of nones surveyed said they grew up in church. Wow! They sat in our classrooms. They went to our camps and sat through the chapel services. They sang the songs. They participated in the activities. But in the end, we look back in many cases and see that we taught them "fluff" instead of Biblical doctrine. They walked away because we didn't give them anything worth staying for. They said they simply don't believe anymore.

24% of Gen Z kids say what we are teaching them is too shallow.

It's time we take a hard look at what we are teaching the kids God has entrusted us with. It's time we examined our "scope and sequence" and see if it contains the key doctrines of the faith.

A big part of seeing kids "get it" happens when they understand Biblical doctrine and then are challenged to apply it and live it out. But we can't apply what we don't know. The starting place is doctrine.

With this in mind, I created a year long curriculum pathway that teaches kids key doctrines and how to apply them. Each series is one month long. The 12 series takes kids from the doctrine of salvation all the way to being a spiritual leader. You can get more info. about that at this link. Our curriculum is on sale for only $49 per series through tomorrow.

One of the key series is Pranksters. This 4-week series takes kids on a deep dive into why we believe the Bible is God's Word. It can be used for Sunday children's church, Sunday school classes, small groups or mid-week programming. Here is more info. about this. (p.s. it's on sale for only $49 through tomorrow)

13% of Gen Z kids claim to be atheist. Compare this to the 6% of adults who say they are atheists. If we keep on doing the same old same old, we will lose another generation due to Biblical illiteracy.

But it doesn't have to be that way. If we will be more strategic in what we teach, we can help kids develop a strong faith foundation that will last for a lifetime.


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