Our society has lots of talk. From news reporters to politicians to ads on TV, radio, Pandora, Hulu and Facebook, everyone it seems is trying to sell you on something. Everyone it seems has an angle or a catch. The other day I walked into a US Cellular to have them look over my bill only for the guy to try to sell me a “free” tablet with a 10$ monthly connection fee. For those that have grown up in the last few decades, this is all we have known – which also leads us to be deeply suspicious of organizations, institutions, memberships and “free” anything(and for the love of all that is good and holy, please don’t try to set me up with another credit card.) Which brings me to church, an institution of which I am a part, that is often perceived to be interested only in rears in the pews and dollars in the plate. When mission is absent, when people fail to live like the Jesus that is preached, when there is zero concern for neighbor, poverty, injustice, the kingdom of God, or following Christ, our younger generations see it – and walk away. Faith without sincerity is a hollow shell. If what we know of God fails to change the way we live so that we live for God than it is empty. And our youth see it. According Kenda Dean, researcher with National Study of Youth in Religion, the way our parents live out their faith in their daily lives is one of the biggest predictors of how their children will live out their faith. If parents come to church without their faith impacting the way that they live or give, or if they don’t come at all, it is likely their children won’t either. Another huge predictor that youth will stay active in church past eighteen is if they have at least 2 adults in their faith community who genuinely take interest and care about them in their daily lives that also LIVE their faith. Asking about games, showing up for activities, and just checking in with a youth when you see them makes all the impact in the world, especially when they can see God at work in you. We need faith that is impacting, that engages the communities in which we live, and a faith that is sacrificing in the way that it follows Jesus. Otherwise, the church can look like it’s just as hollow as anyone else trying to sell you something. How’s God changing and growing in you?!