Why Young People Ask: Does Gospel Transformation Really Happen?

Have they really seen Gospel transformation in the lives of people in their church?

Why Young People Ask: Does Gospel Transformation Really Happen?

If you want to hear some honest but painful thoughts, ask some young people in your church (teens and young adults) if they really believe the gospel has transforming power. Often, they express at least skepticism if not blatant denial of this possibility. Here’s why:

  1. They’ve seen hypocrisy in the church. They’re not deaf or blind to reality. They’ve seen and heard us speak of a Christianity that our lives often don’t model—and they don’t give people much grace when they see hypocrisy among us.
  1. They’ve never really seen transformed lives. Frankly, we’ve raised them in churches that reach few non-believers and are often led by people whose own lives have settled into Christian mediocrity. Stagnant, plateaued believers have little cause to talk about transformation.
  1. They’ve not heard much preaching about the transforming power of the gospel. Sure, they’ve heard calls to Christianity and righteousness, but those calls have not always been accompanied by the promise of power. They’ve heard condemnation, with little attention on the Holy Spirit.
  1. They’ve not heard many stories of transformed lives. Even if we know there are transformed lives among us, we so seldom tell our own stories that no one else knows about them. When we gather with our churches, we often sit among miracles that remain untold.
  1. They’re not convinced of the truthfulness of the Bible. We who have stood on the authority of the Word have taken for granted that our own children hold the same beliefs. That’s often erroneous thinking—and young people who question the Word are also going to question its transforming power.
  1. They still struggle with their own sin issues. This issue often reflects poor discipleship in our churches, but it’s real nonetheless: Young people who’ve never found victory over their own sin issues find it hard to believe that the gospel genuinely changes people.
  1. They’re trying to figure out this stuff on their own. That’s partially because they’re growing in independence and don’t always want input from others. At the same time, though, we’ve provided them no mentors to walk with them and help them wrestle through tough questions.
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What reasons might you add to this list?

This article originally appeared here.

Chuck Lawless
Chuck Lawless is professor and senior associate dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served as a pastor for almost twenty years, and is the author of Spiritual Warfare: Biblical Truth for Victory, Discipled Warriors: Healthy Churches Winning Spiritual Warfare, Making Disciples through Mentoring, Serving in Your Church's Prayer Ministry, and Eating the Elephant. Dr. Lawless speaks extensively around the countryYou can read articles from Dr. Chuck Lawless on his personal blog (ChuckLawless.com) ( or connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook. .
  • Delwyn Campbell

    You asked good questions, but gave no answers. For starters, discuss what a transformed life looks like, and what it does not look like. Do young people think that “sinless perfection” is a realistic goal for others done simultaneously justifying their own failings as due to “spiritual immaturity?”