“Raise your hand if someone in your family, aged 20 to 30, once raised Catholic, has fallen away from the faith in recent years,” asks the popular Catholic speaker, Pete Burak, in this month’s FAITH Magazine. If you just put your hand up, what is to be done to win back your dear family member to Christ? Here are four tips from Pete. He writes:
1. Pray, pray, pray, pray, pray … and fast:
The Lord hears the cries of his people, and our specific, intentional and persistent prayers for the conversion of the younger generations will be heard and bear fruit. We also need to fast because Jesus tells us in Mark 9:29 that certain spirits can only be cast out through prayer and fasting, and I believe the current spirit of disbelief and deconstruction is one of the spirits.
2. Lean into their suffering:
Many of young people’s doubts and reasons for leaving originate in deep wounds from something they’ve done or has been done to them. Instead of being surprised or scandalized by someone’s brokenness, we need to weep with those who weep so we can bring Christ’s healing presence and eventually lead them out of it. Walking with young people may hurt since they may do and say things that cut us deeply. The question is, do we have the courage and the love necessary to weather those storms so as to be a consistently loving, strong, healing relationship in their turbulent lives?
3. Share your story:
There’s no substitute for the Gospel preached through the lens of your personal experience. Young people love stories, so be ready and willing to describe life before Jesus, how you met him and what life is like now. Don’t sugarcoat it, just be authentic and honest. Your testimony of faith will be more important than your ability to win an apologetic argument. This generation is worth it, let’s put our heads down and get to work!
4. Learn More:
The Lord broke my heart for this age group back in 2010, which led to the creation and work of id, the young adult outreach of Renewal Ministries. We love your kids, grandkids and friends, so if there’s any way we can help, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Pete Burak is the director of i.d.9:16, the young adult outreach of Renewal Ministries. He has a master’s degree in theology and is a frequent speaker on evangelization and discipleship.