Jacki’s story and the testimonies of other Horizon U grads reveal that growing in Christ is not easy in today’s world, but can grow with the right help and environment. This relates to the findings of eminent Christian survey researchers Kinnaman and Matlock in their 2019 book, Faith for Exiles. The authors present solid evidence that the faith of most young Americans raised in the church is not only under attack but falling through the cracks
Just 10% of 18-29 year-olds who grew up Christian are “Resilient Disciples”. Resilient Disciples are those who by definition, engage with their churches, trust the authority of the Bible, are committed to Jesus personally and affirm His crucifixion and resurrection, and express desire to affect broader society as an outcome of their faith. To sustain one’s faith in the world today, the data show that a young person must be counter-cultural — live in ways that oppose the majority’s lifestyle, despite still living among them. This clearly is a big challenge. So what has helped the few in sustaining their faith in Christ? The research implies five contributing practices among the Resilient Disciples:
- Experiencing intimacy with Jesus
- Gaining Biblical wisdom to choose what’s right in a complex age
- Forging meaningful relationships with people older and younger (being mentored as well as mentoring)
- Being guided and equipped for meaningful work that still enables using one’s faith)
- Curbing self-centered tendencies by living in trust of God’s power and with a sense of mission for Him
Knowing Horizon U and CCBCHU’s routines in addition to student testimonies, there’s no doubt that Horizon U students are exposed to the principles above. Whether online or on campus, student are encouraged toward fellowship, mentoring, Biblical truth, mission/service activities, personal devotions, etc. Adopting these practices is still up to the individual. But our hearts go out to the vast numbers of people with less access to these practices; who as a result are discouraged in growing their faith in Christ by the culture and their environment.