American Association of Christian Counselors
American Association of Christian Counselors

Alone: Finding Connection in a Lonely World

Hear Andy Braner live on Dr. Tim Clinton’s American Family Radio show, “Turn it Around.” Click here to tune in at 12p.m. (ET) today, November 29th, to discuss the issues facing today’s young people and hear more about his latest book by the same title!

“80% of Christian teenagers raised in Christian homes who go off to University reject their faith by their first year in college,” Josh McDowell estimates.

What is going on? What are we missing? How can so many kids who are raised in Christian homes turn their backs on their faith when they leave home?

Could it be the reasons students are leaving the Christian faith are…

  • They don’t buy into the shenanigans of church any longer?
  • They don’t know anyone who is living out faith honestly in their community?
  • They feel like the church is “un-safe” for them to connect?
  • OR…is it because we left the most important part of Jesus’ teachings outside the four walls of our faith gatherings?

Jesus said the most important commandment is, “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).

I find that most churches are truly striving to love God, but loving each other is a different story. We often make decisions not primarily out of the desire to love others, but rather, to avoid being inconvenienced. We try to speed up the process of relationship building and discipleship with programs and technology. We outsource our relationships to ‘small groups,’ ‘Bible studies,’ ‘men’s groups,’ and ‘women’s groups.’

But relationships are not an event. Somehow, in the midst of programs and technology, we’ve forgotten that. We’ve settled for shallow interactions. We’ve stopped discipling our young people. How many church groups actually result in deep, loving relationships where we celebrate life together? Hold each other accountable? Share our failures with complete honesty? Experience meaningful, lasting connections?

In a world where Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google reign, today’s teens are lonely and desperate to belong. There’s almost nothing we can’t click and have immediate access to, including contact with people on the other side of the globe. But does this instant access create a false sense of connection?

We’ve fundamentally forgotten that technology is a tool, not a replacement to making long lasting relationships. We must teach students the importance of developing God-Centric relationships in a world that wants to regulate important events to a “click” and a “like.” Facebook has a place, but to think the hundreds of friend connections on Facebook result in any sort of real-time understanding of one another is an illusion.

After all, it was God who said, “It is good man should not be alone” (Genesis 2:18).

As Christian counselors, we must help teach parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors how to develop meaningful long lasting relationships with today’s adolescents. We must model both loving God and loving others in order to help kids see the importance of honest friendships, genuine spiritual development, and ultimately, real life connections of knowing and being known.

Hear Andy Braner live on Dr. Tim Clinton’s American Family Radio show, “Turn it Around.” Click here to tune in at 12p.m. (ET) today, November 29th, to discuss the issues facing today’s young people and hear more about his latest book by the same title!

 

 

Andy Braner is an ordained youth minister and former president of Kanakuk Colorado. Currently, he is the president of KIVU, a ministry that teaches Christian worldview principles to teens and college students in the context of outdoor adventures. Each year, Andy speaks to more than 80,000 teens and college students all over the world. His message centers around training global leaders to love God and love others.

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