Satan, You Can’t Have My Kids!

by Dale Reeves

Story Pastor


A poll released in February this year by the Walton Family Foundation, in conjunction with SocialSphere, surveyed Gen Z participants ages 15-25 as well as adults aged 26 and over. The online survey gathered data from 3,200 15-25-year-olds and just over 1,000 adults aged 26 and older. The survey asked respondents how often they attend “religious services” apart from weddings and funerals. Thirteen percent of Gen Z respondents said they attend services once a week, compared with 16% of older adults. Only 28% of Generation Z Americans say they’re committed to attending religious services at least once a month, and 14% of them identify as atheist or agnostic.


Additionally, Generation Z was much more likely to identify as either gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Only 75% of Gen Z respondents said they identify as “heterosexual or straight,” compared to 92% of older adults. Nine percent of Gen Z respondents identified as bisexual, while 3% of adults 26 and up said the same. Four percent of Gen Z respondents identified as “transgender or non-binary,” compared to less than 1% of older adults.


To view more data from this survey, you can click here:


In 2018, the Barna Group reported that Gen Z is the least Christian generation in American history as only about 4% hold a biblical worldview and more teens identify as agnostic, atheist, or not religiously affiliated than previous generations. This generation has grown up in a post-Christian, post-modern environment in which many of them have not been exposed to Christianity and the church.


How Did This Happen?

“What is happening with our kids?” Have you ever heard someone say that, or have you even said that yourself? Is this generation losing its faith when its students go off to college at secular campuses, or does it happen before then? My personal opinion as to why the “outpouring” or “awakening” of the Spirit of God recently took place at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, (and in many other campuses) is that there are many in Gen Z who are desperately hungry for a real relationship with God. They may not have experienced that in their own church while growing up, and they are crying out for an authentic and intimate relationship with God. On the other side of the pandemic, they are wounded, anxious, depressed, and feel alone—and they are looking to fill that void.


Last August’s edition of the “State of the Bible: USA 2022” report from the American Bible Society found that 66% of Gen Z and millennial respondents who say they have made a meaningful commitment to Jesus do not attend church either in person or online at least once a month. John Farquhar Plake, director of ministry intelligence for the American Bible Society says,


“This should challenge every Christian and ministry leader to intentionally cultivate relationships with their younger neighbors, who are often seeking security and hope amidst ever-increasing anxiety. It’s our prayer that every generation is able to meaningfully connect with the Word of God, engaging with it as a way of life and actively living out their faith in community.”


To see the full report, click here:


What Can We Do About It?

Those stats are sobering, and they should be concerning to us. And, if you’re like some parents and grandparents I know, they may describe your kids and grandkids. If one of your kids or grandkids has left the church, and no longer claims to have a meaningful relationship with God, you might be asking yourself, “How did this happen?”


My good friend Lynn Lusby Pratt wrote about this topic not too long ago. In her blog entitled, “Stop the Bleeding!” she notes several reasons why our kids are leaving the church:


  1. An increased tendency to think the Bible is unreliable.

Many kids increasingly believe that in this age of “false news,” there’s really no way to know the truth. They may feel that some of the things written in the Bible are myths, and that the Bible has been edited and tampered with, so we don’t fully know what is true and what isn’t.


  1. Our culture’s portrayal of the church and Christians as exclusive haters who just follow a “bunch of rules.”

This makes Christians something to be avoided rather than associated with.


  1. Christians don’t know the answers to the perennial questions that skeptics ask.

These include questions like “Why does God allow suffering?” and “If God is so good, why would he send people to Hell?”


  1. There is a push to want to FEEL something spiritual.

Kids today don’t know the difference between objective truth and subjective feelings.


  1. Clever marketing declares that all religions teach the same basics.

Kids today may have bought into the idea that all “Gods” from different religions are trying to get us all to do the same thing—just be kind to our fellow man. They may also believe that “all roads lead to Heaven.” When Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV), he sounded pretty narrow and exclusive.


To read some of the cures that Lynn offers for these causes, check out her blog here:


If our young adults aren’t grounded in what God says about them through Scripture, they are vulnerable to believe and follow whatever ideas in culture are currently trending. They can become confused very easily concerning their own gender and sexual identity if they are taking their cues from popular culture, false teaching, and the whims of their friends—rather than from the Word of God and the church.


If we have an active relationship with Jesus and want to see that passed down to the next generation, we must constantly remind them of who they are and whose they are! God’s Word tells us:


“You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, ‘Papa! Father!’ Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance” (Galatians 4:6, 7, The Message).


We must continually remind the kids and grandkids that God has placed in our lives that they are God’s children, they’ve been accepted and chosen by him—and as his masterpiece, they’ve been created to do great things. And, while you’re at it, speak these words to Satan, “You can’t have my kids!” May that be your daily declaration and prayer, and may God help us in this fight for our kids.

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