Support Beautiful Orthodoxy. What the world—and the church—needs now. Give a year-end gift today! »

Guest / Limited Access /

Raise Expectations

Greg Stier is founder and president of Dare 2 Share Ministries and author of Firing Jesus.

If we're honest, when most of us see those young, clean-cut Mormon missionaries knocking on doors, we quickly assume that the hip, relevant, "just show up" youth ministry strategies in our Protestant circles are vastly superior.

But are they? Mormons expect a lot from their teenagers: They ordain their young men into the ministry at age 12, expect their young people to attend seminary every day of high school, and ask them to serve in the field upwards of two years. Needless to say, we don't.

Mormonism pushes its kids harder and takes them farther than even the most ardent Protestant youth ministry. Can you imagine a youth group that challenged each of its teenagers to meet at 6 a.m. every day of the school year to learn about Christianity? That's exactly what Mormons do with their high-school students. We get excited if our teens gather around a pole at 7:15 a.m. to pray once a year.

When typical Christians graduate from high school, they grab their books and go off to a college dorm. When typical Mormons graduate from high school, they grab a bike pump and go on mission.

Those high expectations pay off. Young Mormons know what they believe and why they believe it. They've hammered out their theology on evangelical doorsteps. Their hearts and minds have been steeled and sealed into Mormon orthodoxy through their intense commitment.

Maybe that's why Mormons give more and work harder than their Christian peers. Maybe that's why the religion is expanding while a majority of former Christian youth-group attendees are fleeing the church.

Don't get me wrong. I don't ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueStewards of Wealth Streams
Stewards of Wealth Streams
Four Silicon Valley residents who are wielding their region's capital for good.
RecommendedThe Surprising Discovery About Those Colonialist, Proselytizing Missionaries
Subscriber Access Only The Surprising Discovery About Those Colonialist, Proselytizing Missionaries
They didn’t set out to change history. But one modern scholar’s research shows they did just that.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickThe Bible Never Says 'All Men Are Created Equal'
The Bible Never Says 'All Men Are Created Equal'
How the New Testament offers a better, higher calling than the Declaration of Independence.
Christianity Today
What Can Christians Learn From the Surge in Mormon Youth ...
hide thisMay May

In the Magazine

May 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.