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.

July/August
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
From Issue:
Read These Next
Also in this IssueChased by Grace
Chased by Grace Subscriber Access Only
After fleeing her own broken life, Sarah Thebarge learned to see God's image in her refugee neighbors.
RecommendedTragic Church Bus Crash Ends Student Mission Trip Before It Can Start
Tragic Church Bus Crash Ends Student Mission Trip Before It Can Start
Accident kills teen girl from Alabama megachurch who felt God’s call to Botswana.
TrendingFinding My 'True Self' As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
Finding My 'True Self' As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
In my young-adult struggle with sexual identity, both legalistic condemnation and progressive license left me floundering.
Editor's PickA Walking Disaster
A Walking Disaster
How a hurricane helped me weather my battle with cancer.
Christianity Today
What Can Christians Learn From the Surge in Mormon ...
hide thisMay May

In the Magazine

May 2013

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