Alarming Statistic

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by christianyouth, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. christianyouth

    christianyouth
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    Ray Comfort, the founder of Living Waters ministry, and well known representative from WOTM has written a book called How To Bring Your Children To Christ... And Keep Them There. In this book, Ray cites a statistic that shocked me, he says "88% of children raised in evangelical homes leave the church at age 18 never to return."

    If this statistic is true, what is going wrong? From a youth's perspective, I can say that the majority of kids I encounter who are 'Christian' have been forced to come to church by their parents. They lack repentance, and they view Christian duties as a grim-faced thing.

    What do you think the solution is? How can parents not breed false converts but actually produce spiritual offspring?
     
  2. tinytim

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    I feel we have tried to entertain them too much. We need to disciple them instead.

    The ones I have discipled have stuck.
    the ones that didn't want to be discipled, but entertained, left.

    The church can never compete with the world in entertainment.
    Church is not all about fun.

    Teens can be discipled as well as adults.
     
  3. Dale-c

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    I agree Tim. One thing we have done is replaced doctrine with Bible stories.
    We have replaced worship with Sunday School.
    We have replaced catechisms with door prizes for bringing visitors.
     
  4. SBCPreacher

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    Tim, I believe this is so true! Youth ministry isn't "The Ministry Of Fun And Games." The churches I have been in that do this loose almost all of their kids when they graduate High School. Churches that try to develope young disciples usually have smaller groups, but a great percentage of them stay in church (somewhere).

    Now, the neat thing is that you can have fun and make dieciples, but the priority needs to be making disciples.

    One more thing, the church can't be a substitute for the Christian home. The church can't un-do in an hour or two a week what mom and dad have raised into their kids over 14 or so years. I don't know how many times when I was in youth ministry that I heard, "Why can't you fix my kid - that's why I bring him to church."
     
  5. Dale-c

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    That is probably the greatest problem.
     
  6. rbell

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    88% may be a bit high...Barna's stats are a bit lower. I'll look them up when I'm at my office.

    However...it's still a high number.

    The way we combat it is this:

    • No disrespect meant to Dale, but Sunday School is a critical element for us. Two things happen there:
      • In-depth Bible study.
      • Small-group accountability and fellowship (in the Biblical sense).
    • We greatly stress at our church that every member is a minister...and that includes our high-school and junior high students. If a student is serving God in his/her church, rather than just being a spectator, the chances of keeping that kid beyond high-school skyrocket.
      • We included one of my sharpest students I've ever had on the last pastor search committee.
      • 2/3 of our VBS staff is high-school or college-aged students.
      • We have students leading worship in various capacities (choir, band, praise teams, testimonies, greeters, etc.) on Wednesday nights, Sunday nights, and on some Sunday mornings.
      • Kids greatly look up to those folks just beyond them. Some of our best Kids Own Worship leaders are really sharp high-school students.
      • We don't just throw youth into positions of service--we lead them into those positions...and help them learn how to serve.
    • We go after Mom & Dad. If the student's gotta do it alone, your long-term effectiveness plummets.
    • We know going in that it's a risky field. Even Jesus didn't reach everyone..."many believed, but some doubted." Adults, and teens, can and will fall by the wayside. But we never give up on them, because God doesn't give up on them.
    • We involve our collegiate students heavily in church life. I have a DiscipleNow weekend coming up in a couple of weeks. Out of our 14-15 small groups, only two leaders didn't graduate from our youth ministry.
    I had the privilege of performing a wedding of one of my former students a while back. He had crashed and burned pretty hard during his late teenage years...but God kept calling him back, and he finally heeded that call and allowed Christ to clean up his life.
     
  7. Rufus_1611

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    That statistic Comfort cited apparently came from the Southern Baptist Council on Family Life .

    The solution is separation.

    For my two cents, so long as parents think they can take their children to church for a couple hours a week and send them to godless, human secularist schools for 5 times that amount, don't have regular family altar time, allow their children to listen to secular music, watch secular television and movies etc., well the only thing surprising about that statistic is that 12% weren't lost.
     
  8. J. Jump

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    I have been to several Baptist churches across the states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas and I've yet to find a Sunday School that does either of these two things. While I agree that it should be done, I think the reality is it is not being done.

    Sunday School seems to be for keeping up with the Jones' and what's happening in their lives on a social level and dabbling in Scripture for a few minutes.

    I would agree with Rufus. The more we are able to get closer to Christ and further away from the world the better off we and our kids are going to be.
     
  9. preachinjesus

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  10. SBCPreacher

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    Might I suggest a couple of things.
    1. Find a church that does SS right.
    2. Start a class and do it right.

    Just because it's not being done where you are doesn't mean that it can't be done at all, or that it isn't being done somewhere else. Honestly, I wish all the SS classes at our church were doing it right, but the few that are are the growing classes. Growing Christians are starving for real Christian fellowship and real Bible study. The SS class can (and should) be doing this.
     
  11. palagislandgirl

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    We need to remember that the parents also need to help the Sunday School teachers at home. It will help the kids to see the importance of church if they see their parents being involved in church and not just dropping them off and leaving. I am the only child in my family who as an adult is regulary involved in church. I think that is because I had adults at church who invested time in my life when my parents couldn't.
     
  12. Helen

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    I can think of three more reasons for a large number of children not continuing in their parents' faith (not worried about the actual statistics here)

    1. We cannot 'breed' Christians. Each person has a will of his or her own and Christ said 'few' are those who find the narrow gate. There is no reason to suppose that the few must include our children.

    2. Many Christian homes which take their faith seriously also end up being extraordinarily legalistic. This will almost always lead to rebellion.

    3. Creation vs. evolution. The kids are told the world was created in six days and that's that. They are given to feel a sort of paranoia for the scientific world. And so, when they go to high school and college and learn what they perceive is actual scientific fact, they feel they have to choose between science and faith. This is NOT a minor issue, folks. Barry and I have spoken in a number of places in a number of countries and EVERY time people have come up to us telling us that they though they had to choose between science and the Bible. Students and parents both have been totally unaware that it is interpretations of the data and not the data itself which are at war with the Bible.

    If you want the kids to know you are telling them the truth, that the Bible can be trusted utterly, Genesis to Revelation, you are going to have to take the time to educate yourselves at least somewhat with the actual data, because it points to a VERY young universe. The whole reason that dark matter and dark energy are being declared to be 'real' is because science cannot account for the formations of the galaxies with very long ages otherwise! And those long ages are necessary for evolution (actually even 3.5 billion years is not enough time for the evolution they want, but never mind about that...).

    It's not just a matter of discipling in the theological sense, but of helping educate the kids in a real sense so they will have an ANSWER for the faith they profess.
     
  13. J. Jump

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    Trust me I have been :)

    While it wasn't a SS class I did have a Bible study group, but it folded. I don't think there are as many folks out there that "really" want to study the Bible indepthly.

    Never said that. However I think it is getting harder and harder with each passing year as the church grows more and more lukewarm.

    Well I haven't found it yet, and I've been looking. Now there are probably some churches that I have visited or gone to that would "say" they are doing those things, but in reality they are not. They are too busy trying to be relevant.

    Agreed.
     
  14. Rufus_1611

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    If we are doing our jobs we have every reason to suppose that the few will include our children.
    "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6

    Agree. Kent Hovind videos are excellent for this effort.
     
  15. Helen

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    Rufus, "train a child up in the way he should go" is NOT a promise of salvation. It is far more telling parents to recognize their own children's talents and train them up to excel in the gifts God has given them. Don't ask the artist to become a doctor, or the doctor to become politician. Train a child up in the way he should go, which is the use of the talents God has given him.

    And, about Kent Hovind. I would stay as far away from those videos as possible. He is a popularizer and not a scientist. He mixes fact with opinion and never lets his audience know the difference between the two. He also uses 'evidences' which have been long discredited. There are enough real data not to have to use questionable material.
     
  16. Scarlett O.

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    Well, we can sit here and point our fingers all we want. Go ahead....blame the public school, blame popular music, blame the parents, blame society, blame the enticements of the world......blame whoever you want to for children growing up in the church and not coming back after high school graduation.

    Let me cut to the chase. If 18-year-olds who are raised in the church don't come back after they graduate from high school it is the church's fault. Period. End of discussion!

    Did the church focus on traditional hymns or contemporary music? Who CARES? When the young man and young woman are walking out the doors of the church never to return what the devil difference does it make?

    Which did the church focus on more - Sunday School or Vacation Bible School or AWANA? Does it really make that big of a difference when talking about a young person leaving?

    Did you meet from 11:00 to 12:00 or 10:30 to 11:30? Did you have a Wednesday prayer meeting or cottage prayer meetings on different nights of the week? Again, who cares?

    Young people who leave the church, leave because church was never meaningful to them. I don't mean entertaining or appealing....I mean meaningful!

    They leave and don't come back because it meant nothing to them.

    They never felt the spirit of worship and love for God's Word and instruction.

    They saw adults around them who just went through the motions. This is what they saw:
    • Adults who started closing their bibles and getting their children's sweaters on them and picking up their purses and jackets at straight-up 12:00, whether the pastor was finished preaching or not. That told those young people that church was just a habit, just routine and not meaningful.
    • They watched adults in the choir who yawned and looked at their watches every 10 minutes and who sang unenthusiastically. This told them that church was not meaningful.
    • They were taught by in Sunday School by adults who didn't stay for the worship service nor did they darken the doors of the church any other time. This taught them that church was not meaningful.
    • They watched adults walk in the Sunday Service without a bible in their hands and leave the same way. This taught them that God's Word is not meaningful.
    • They listened as adults who griped about the preacher and gossiped about other members between the Sunday School hour and church were called on to pray in the service and make announcements from the pulpit. This taught them that prayer and being behind the pulpit is not meaningful.
    Before we get all huffy and in a righteous tizzy over all over those bad influences that took our children away from us.....

    ....let's investigate our own churches and our own lives and seek God's face and have Him tell us whether or not we drove them away by modeling for them for 18 years that going to church is just dead, pointless, and lifeless habit.

    Did I step on anyone's toes?

    I was actually trying to drop bricks on our feet.

    Amen?
     
    #16 Scarlett O., Feb 9, 2007
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2007
  17. Helen

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    Scarlett, although you make some very good points, you cannot blame the church for the decisions young adults make. We can expose them to the Bible, to faith, to our own believing lives, but we cannot wrestle with God for them and we cannot make their choices for them. We can stack the deck for them, but we cannot play their cards for them.

    In the long run, it's the individual. I came from a non-Christian family, as you know, so I never got exposed to a Christian home life. The churches I went to with friends never spoke about obedience to the Lord or being born again, to the best of my memory. I do remember being somewhat stunned by both concepts when I read the Bible on my own in my twenties.

    If a person wants to know the truth, God will show that person Himself. If the person does not want to know the truth, it does not matter what influences he or she has had in life.

    I do agree with you about church being meaningful instead of entertaining/attractive. Nevertheless, even with all the correct education Barry and I and others can give, even with Christian parents and a wonderful church, many kids go the other way, because that is, simply, what they have chosen to do with their lives. It is a freedom that God gave them -- to choose for themselves.
     
  18. SBCPreacher

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    Scarlette O. said:
    "Let me cut to the chase. If 18-year-olds who are raised in the church don't come back after they graduate from high school it is the church's fault. Period. End of discussion!"

    For the most part, I agree. But there are still many times that a child can be in the right environment - church and home - and still choose to walk away. A perfect environment doesn't guarantee a perfect heart.

    As the church, we have a responsibility to teach the truth and live out the truth. But each person has the opportunity to stay or leave - it's the individual's choice. And there are many who choose to leave even when the church has done all that they can. I don't belive it happens as often in these churches as those that doln't take their relationship with Christ seriously, but it still happens.

    I guess what I'm saying is this: the young person who choses to leave can't blame anyone else for their decision. It's every person's responsibility to choose to live for Christ - no one makes that choice for us.

    Edited:
    Or, like Helen just said!
     
    #18 SBCPreacher, Feb 9, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2007
  19. Scarlett O.

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    You are quite correct in your train of thought. You bring up a valid point that people need to ponder.

    I had not read your posts when I posted mine. I was responding to many of the previous posts that seem to say that it was all the fault of the big, bad world for young people leaving the church.

    I just wanted to give the very necessary flip side of the coin that no one seemed to address.

    The "church" is going to have a lot to answer for one day....in many areas.

    I quite agree that we cannot "breed" christians. There comes a point in every young person's life when he or she must make the decision themselves whether or not church will become a very important part of their life.
     
  20. Rufus_1611

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    The way they should go is the way of the Lord.
     

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