Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias lists challenges confronting American churches today. They are recovery of Scriptural exposition in a relevant way. Secondly, a disconnect with our youth. Finally, pastors today face increased pressure from within and without.
Ravi affirms how good expository teaching can hold the attention of young [and old] listeners. He offers teacher John R. W. Stott as an example. Two teachers can address the same text. One man can exposit a verse and apply it to the hearers’ world. Another fails to do so. One is anointed, Spirit-filled, endued with power. One is not. Is the speaker touching their lives, scratching where they itch?
(2) Many churches are losing their youth. Ravi sees the need to develop deeper relationships with them through really listening to them. He says that they are asking vital questions, perhaps not in adult terms but pertinent issues nevertheless. If we don’t listen and include them atheistic college professors will; unhealthy influences in the public arena and social media will. It is crucial to do more than throw them a left over chicken bone of our time and attention, in my view.
(3) Pastors are facing increasing pressures today. They can be pulled between the perspective of the older members and the rush of fresh options appealing more to the younger set (different music, new methods, polity, more casual dress and commitment and so forth). Often the decision makers are the older members. They hold sway. So younger members and youth depart. People vote with their feet and money. Established churches shrink or close. New churches arise. Pastors need grace, encouragement and the wisdom of Solomon. -Ravi Zacharias Atlanta Banquet Q&A CD contributed to this