Recently I came across an article on Facebook that shared some thoughts concerning the massive exodus of young people from the church. While the original author, Marc Solas does not teach the pure gospel his words were still quite relevant. Rather than repeating his article in its entirety, I wanted to highlight a few of his thoughts will making my own. To read his entire article go to www.marc5solas.wordpress.com <http://www.com/>.
While I am not certain from where is statistic is derived from, he claims that 70% of the youth that went to services as a child will quit going once they graduate high school. Of those that quit only half return later in life. If these numbers are anywhere near accurate this should scare us. As parents and grandparents and members of a local church we have to do better than 30%. The children here today are the future of the church. If we fail them, we also are failing God’s church. As I look out every Sunday I see a lot of children here. But, I also know, as I think about the church I grew up in that most of those children of my generation were unfaithful. Of those 4 have never left the church and 2 were restored. There were 16 kids within a few years of my age that grew up together. 75% left the church and of those that left only 2 of the 12 returned. 70% nationwide does not seem unreasonable. If they were to be the case of the kids we have here, that means that everyone of the parents here will likely have a child fall way. Let that sink in. Certainly that is not your hopes and dreams for your child (or for that child that often sits next to you). Brethren we must find a way to break the pattern.
In Marc’s article he references 10 things that are destroying the faith of the youth in the church today.
10. The church is relevant. Yes, he did say relevant. This is not a typo. He goes on to say, “We’ve taken a historic, 2,000 year old faith, dressed it in plaid and skinny jeans and tried to sell it as “cool” to our kids. It’s not cool. It’s not modern. What we’re packaging is a cheap knockoff of the world…” The church is not doing itself any favors when it tries to be as much like the world without being the world itself. When we pretend to be something we are not, our children know it. They are nobody’s fool. They know a charlatan when they see one. What we need to do is not be ashamed of what the church really is. We need to speak about it boldly and show it as a stark contrast to the darkness that is in the world today.
9. They never attended church to begin with. In Marc’s article he explained in great detail what the world is often doing for the youth. He sort of mocks the pizza party’s, entertainment laden forms of “children’s worship.” While we certainly don’t have church baseball league, pizza party’s and live rock music to “bring in the youth” we can still make similar mistakes. When we are giving our children a means of “distracting them from the worship” or “busy work” while the rest of us worship what we are really doing is setting them up for failure. If our children are not understanding of what worship really entails how are they ever going to appreciate it they way you do?
8. They get smart. Marc points out they it is not that they were not smart to begin with, but that when they go off to college and others, namely their professors, treat them as intelligent beings they are encouraged to think deeper. They are challenged by agnostic and atheist to not just except something is true because some archaic book. To this, I think he is right. We do fail our children if we “dumb down” religion to them. For when we do this it leads to his next point.,
7. You sent them out unarmed. Too many churches today are more interested in whether their church leaders can fill pews then if they can teach the truth. Too many churches are afraid of what might happen if they actually did teach the truth, so they compromise the truth by not teaching it, lest someone be offended. Brethren, we need to arm these children with the truth. When they take a science class in college they need to know how to intelligently defend creation. When they talk to atheist friends who mock the resurrection, they need to be able to provide a reason for their faith, and my friends it is not as blind as we portray it to be. Remember, God is not looking for fools (see Proverbs).
6. You gave them hand-me downs. Marc’s particular message here certain alludes to the practice of the denominational world. How faith makes one “feel” is important. When a parent teaches their kids to “feel” their faith without substance (the evidences) these children only end up with a hand-me down faith. They go off to college and have other feelings that are stronger and they leave the faith. We can make similar mistakes by teaching our kids to waive the flag of faith of the previous generation. Do not just tell your kids to be faithful, give them a reason to have faith. Let them see the damaging affects of sin. Let them see the suffering savior. Teach them to make their own faith!
The remaining of the article will be discussed in next week’s bulletin.
Grinnell church of Christ
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10 Reasons Our Kids Leave the Church Part 1
Volume 4 Issue 12 February 24, 2013