The first thing I want to say this week is that 27% of all statistics are made up on the spot (I just made that one up). So I don’t take stock in too many statistics. There are a few statistics that alarm me in churches today. The greatest of these has to do with the mass exodus of young people from the majority of our churches.
The immediate question stands: Why are they leaving?
The scriptures say that if we train up a child the way he or she should go, then they will not stray from that way. We then look around and ask, well why are they leaving when we’ve shown them the way? Perhaps the problem isn’t with their religious education, but with their spiritual example.
Let me meddle for just a minute. Did you watch the Cowboys play the Texans last Sunday? How did you feel about the game. Our proximity to Houston lends to there being alot of disappointed fans last Sunday. Me? I’m just glad a team from Texas won.
How did you feel about the game, though? I know many people who were incredibly tense throughout the game. I know of people who cancelled all other plans to watch the game. I know people who were super-excited and incredibly disappointed with each play of the game. How about you?
What gets you excited?
When we look around at churches today, it’s pretty easy to see that the religious activities of most Christians take second place (or further) behind the other priorities of life. We don’t put our active religious life as the forefront of our lives. We often-times get more excited about a football game than we do about what God has done in someone’s life. I hear people cheer loudly when the Texans score, but I don’t hear the same kind of enthusiasm about someone getting baptized or a prayer that got answered.
What do our kids see is our priority? As Christians, we are supposed to be putting the Kingdom of God first (Matthew 6:33), yet we seem to make this something that we do on Sunday morning…maybe Sunday night or Wednesday night. “What? You’re having a small group on Tuesday’s too? Well, that’s too much church for me.”
If our kids don’t see our life as citizens of the Kingdom of God as a priority in our life (and it should be TOP priority), then they won’t put is as a top priority in their lives as well. In fact, they may not make it a priority at all. Hence the mass exodus of young people from the church. This has less to do with their Christian education as it does with their Christian example. Half-hearted Christian parents lead to non-Christian children.
So, if you want to see our young people stay in church, then maybe you need to rethink the message you’re portraying to your kids about your role in God’s Kingdom. If you’re fired up about relationship with Christ and His Body (the church), then your kids will likely catch that fire too.
May you be on fire for Christ, and may that fire spread unhindered to our youths across the nation. If I can help you in any way – even praying for you – let me know. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Blessings be on your week!