What’s the Back Row all about?
Growing up it seemed that in every class there were always those students who sat in the front row and raised their hands to answer every question the teacher asked and most of the times they had the right answer. They volunteered to pass out and collect all the tests or homework assignments. They even reminded the teachers that they had forgotten to assign homework on a Friday. Seriously who does that?
These front row students were also in every gym class and at every recess. They were the first to volunteer to be the team captain or they were used as examples of how to do the right thing, the right way, at the right time. They had every opportunity to prove their superiority mentally and physically. Congratulations you are amazing, please excuse me, as I continue to sweat standing still.
Nowhere is safe from these front row kids. They even showed up in church so you could compare yourself on the weekends. These same front row kids wanted to read their bible out loud or pray for the class. These were the kids that knew where everything was in the bible and knew all the right answers no matter what the question was. To be honest “Jesus, Bible, and Prayer” never answered my question of why I was so different.
As you might have guessed, I was not one of these kids. In fact, I was everything these kids were not. I was one of the kids in the back of the class. I didn’t have all the answers but I acted like I didn’t care. I didn’t have my homework or binder but I always had a one-liner or comment. I never volunteered to be a captain of anything and I wasn’t normally picked to be on the team. I definitely was not the example of how to do much of anything. If I was an example of anything, I was the example that coaches and parents used, “If you don’t work hard and study you’ll end up to be like Mike Hodson.” It didn’t matter if it was in school, in church, in sports or any other setting; I was in the back row of every situation as I was growing up.
At 19 years old, God got ahold of my life and rocked my world. The changes that happened in my life through a relationship with Christ have been nothing short of miraculous. Jesus changed how I view myself, how I view others, how I spend my time in giving to others instead of taking from whoever I can. Of all the things that God has changed in me and around me, the one thing that is still the same is the feeling that I am still sitting in the back row.
Growing up I felt like the back row might have been a place of seclusion. But as an adult, I see that the back row is full of plenty of people just like me. People who have a different outlook on life, a different approach to their everyday situation, people who need Jesus just like everyone else but might not find Him in the same way their parents did or the way that some churches would tell them to.
If you are a parent looking for a little help to understand your student, I look forward to partnering with you as someone who believes in your student. My first word of encouragement would be to take the time to get to know your student as an individual and celebrate who they are and don’t focus on who or what they are not. God created them perfectly for His Glory, celebrate that.
If you are another pastor, youth leader or just share my belief that everyone deserves a chance to hear about a saving relationship with a powerful living God and you believe that this generation has the ability to change our culture, our world and others eternal destination; I look forward to sharing my story and hearing about your adventures in ministry.
Why are Christian Kids leaving the Faith?
1. They left because they had troubling, unanswered questions about the faith.
2. They left because their faith was not “working” for them.
3. They left because they allowed other things to take priority.
4. They left because they never personally owned their faith.
88% of the children in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18.
61% of today’s Young Adults (20-somethings) had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged if they ever were engaged.
63% of teenaged Christians don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of the one true God.
51% don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead.
68% don’t believe that the Holy Spirit is a real entity.
Only 33% of churched youth have said that the church will play a part in their lives when they leave home.
[Source: The Last Christian Generation, Josh McDowell, David H. Bellis, Green Key Books (2006)]