An Anxious Generation—Now What?


Anxious Generation
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Slow erosion doesn’t excite people.

This is what I thought recently while reading a news story about an 1800s farmhouse in England that’s beginning to hang over the edge of a cliff due to seaside erosion. The historical home is about to be demolished to prevent it from careening over the side of the cliff, spilling into the ocean.

But what struck me while studying the aerial, bird’s-eye view was that there was no mention in the article of the house next door. The soil erosion is headed for the other house, too. It may take a few years to reach the house, but it’s approaching. The clock is ticking.

I have a hunch that the reason the other house wasn’t mentioned is we really don’t find it all that exciting to read about an impending crisis likely to take place in five to seven years.

We don’t tend to find slow erosion all that exciting. A house dangling over the edge of the cliff—now that’s exciting!

In his newly released book, “The Anxious Generation,” Jonathan Haidt discusses the outcome of the slow, cultural erosion that’s been taking place since the mid 2000s, specifically through the digital revolution. More and more students, and even children, are engaging mobile phones, apps, social media and various digital screens at a younger and younger age, and at an increasing rate. The results of this first-time-ever human experiment? An anxious generation.

The mental, emotional and spiritual health of our young people—our children—is declining. Like a house careening over the edge of the cliff spilling out into the ocean, the outcome of our cultural experiment is catastrophic.

So, Why Is This Happening? 

Erosion. Slow erosion that’s been occurring among our children (beginning as young as toddlers and preschoolers), click-by-click, swipe-by-swipe on screen after screen since the iPhone emerged in 2007. This erosion has transformed the terrain of our cultural landscape and is forming our children into an anxious generation. In the most plain language possible: Secularism is failing our children. So what must we do about an anxious generation?

This is exactly why Awana created the Child Discipleship Forum (CDF).

The CDF is the nationwide gathering place for those who want to be on the leading edge of understanding the impact of both the cultural formation and the biblical/spiritual formation of our children. We don’t have to keep reacting from one crisis to the next. There are real solutions—solutions that work. But much like fighting erosion, it takes time, effort, insight, thought and prayer.

When you attend the CDF and bring your key team members with you, you will be equipped with:

  • Fresh insight on how cultural formation is shaping your children (and you!) so you can help today’s kids navigate today’s world with biblical conviction and personal Christlikeness
  • A proven, biblical pathway to disciple kids so they can walk faithfully as disciples of Jesus Christ, even in the midst of cultural adversity
  • New research to help you disciple and minister in a rapidly changing world
  • Practical solutions to help you implement biblical child discipleship at church and home

It’s been said, “It’s not a matter of, ‘Are our children being discipled?’, but a matter of ‘Who or what is discipling our children?’”

As children’s ministry leaders, Awana leaders, parents and pastors, we have a choice. We can keep reacting to each crisis…after crisis…after crisis. Or, we can do the slow, counter-cultural work of forming biblical child disciples like Daniel, who chose to be untangled from the secular culture of Babylon, yet remained faithful to God while in the midst of it (Daniel, Chapters 1-6).

This is why the Child Discipleship Forum exists: to help you make resilient child disciples, no matter the cultural surroundings. The CDF is filled with fresh insight, biblical solutions and proven, research-backed practices to form lasting faith in children.

As Jesus concluded the Sermon on the Mount, he said, Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24, emphasis added).

I find Jonathan Haidt’s offered solutions in his book to be encouraging, comforting, rational and hope-filled. But they will only be so for the wise—those who put them into practice.

If the crisis point that is shaping our vulnerable children has you in a place where you are ready to do something about it, I invite you to attend the Child Discipleship Forum. It’s time to get equipped with biblical, research-backed, practical solutions. It’s time we put the best biblical insight into practice and disciple a generation of resilient kids.

Will you join me? This may be the most consequential decision you make in 2024: a decision that will change the future of numerous children’s lives and shape the future of your church. I hope to see you there.

Learn more about the 2024 Child Discipleship Forum and the full lineup of speakers at


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