Opinion | Family

Steve Jobs, Back to School, and Why Doubt Belongs in Your Youth Group Curriculum

Our research at the Fuller Youth Institute suggests unexpressed doubt leads young people to leave the faith.

As a young boy, Steve Jobs attended a Lutheran church with his parents. At age 13, he asked the pastor, "If I raise my finger, will God know which one I'm going to raise even before I do it?"

The pastor answered, "Yes, God knows everything."

Jobs then pulled out a Life magazine cover depicting starving children in Biafra and asked his pastor, "Does God know about this and what's going to happen to those children?"

The well-intentioned pastor answered, "Steve, I know you don't understand, but yes, God knows about that."

Jobs declared that he didn't want to worship such a God, walked out of the church, and never went back.

As we at the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) learned from studying 500 youth-group graduates during their first three years in college, Jobs's story is far from unique. In our Sticky Faith research, geared to help young people develop a Christian faith that lasts, a common narrative emerged: When young people asked tough questions about God at church, often during elementary or ...

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