Talking about hypocrisy in the church

Photo by polaroidville


As a parent, it’s a question you start hearing from the backseat when your children are 4 or 5, and they start to grasp the mysterious wonder of our world.

As a leader, it’s a question you start hearing in third-grade Sunday School as your students begin to ponder why God would allow suffering and evil in that same wondrous world.


It’s a question we begin asking as children, we ask more intensely as adolescents, and we still wrestle with as adults.

As I’ve spent time with teenagers (both in my family and in my church), I often hear these questions:

Why would God allow hypocrisy in the church?


Why do people who say they follow Jesus often not act like Jesus?

To help you have better conversations with teenagers about the hypocrisy in the church (and in each of us!), we’ve created this conversation guide. It’s adapted from our Can I Ask That? student curriculum, a book that thousands of churches have used with high school students and I’ve worked through with my own teenage son. We hope it will help generate better conversations with your students about how to grapple with hypocrisy—their own and others’. 

Download the Guide

The amazing twist to the problem of hypocrisy in the church is this:

In the midst of our ongoing sin and failure, God continues to love us. We are all hypocrites and God is still crazy about us. That’s a truth worth celebrating and discussing with the young people we care about.