New statistics from the well-known survey, “Monitoring the Future,” reveal alarming trends among today’s students.
“Marijuana and hallucinogen use in the past year reported by young adults 19 to 30 years old increased significantly in 2021 compared to five and 10 years ago, reaching historic highs.”
A massive uptick in depressive symptoms in U.S. students in the 8th, 10th and 12th grades were reported, as up to half of students agreed with statements like “My life is not useful” and “I do not enjoy life.”
To borrow from Charles Dickens famous words, today’s young people are living in “the best of times, the worst of times.” As Dickens said, “it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness… it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
Today’s social scientists seem baffled why young people today are living in such a winter of despair, yet Christians recognize that a variety of factors have come together to conspire against today’s youth.
The sexual ideologies of today are warping their views and morals. Technology and an overabundance of screen time is luring them away from doing productive things with their time. And the church, by and large, has failed to reach this new generation with the ultimate cure for despair: namely the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
All of this adds up to a hopelessness that has manifested in today’s generation of young people. Amid these challenges, there is some encouraging news.
According to Barna research, as quoted by ministry leader Richard Ross, “‘Today’s teens are in a state of amplified spiritual openness, with nearly three in four (74 percent) qualifying as moderately or highly open.’ If you told that fact to your student group, would that give them more confidence to have Gospel conversations?”
What Ross is suggesting is that the church become even more bold in sharing the Gospel with young people. After all, the Good News really is that: good news.
It is truly remarkable how the Lord poured out his blessings at Falls Creek and CrossTimbers this summer, with thousands of spiritual decisions. We are blessed to have so many places here in Oklahoma where students will hear the hope of the Gospel.
The Bible says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3).
Notice we have a living hope, not a passive or idle hope. If we are to see a societal turnaround for this new generation, we must better proclaim the hope of Jesus Christ. This message alone is what can turn this winter of despair among today’s young people into a spring of hope.