Many recent articles are referring to research done by LifeWay.
Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research is quoted as saying this: "There is no easy way to say it, but it must be said. Parents and churches are not passing on a robust Christian faith and an accompanying commitment to the church. We can take some solace in the fact that many do eventually return. But, Christian parents and churches need to ask the hard question, ‘What is it about our faith commitment that does not find root in the lives of our children?’"
|Already Gone: |
Why Your Kids Will
Quit Church and
What You Can Do
To Stop It
The survey data is important but Ken Ham falls off the deep end, leaving the data far behind, insisting that the root of our problem is that we don't teach creationism. But not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as they say, here is a brief synapses of part of Britt's data (The data that supports my own twisted conclusions naturally. Hey, why should I be any different that anyone else?):
- 90% of people who've left the church made the decision to do so in in the junior high school years.
- The reasons given most often: boring church services, legalism, hypocrisy of leaders, too political, self-righteous people, not relevant to personal growth.
- Both surveys point to data showing that the 20-35-year old's have a deeply felt need for spirituality. They want a relationship with God. They don't think the church, as an establishment, has the answers.
I'm sure you've noticed the blank looks on the kids faces as they suffer through another church service aimed completely at adults. Lets face it, adults give the money. We want them satisfied. In this time of tight budgets the first thing that's cut is the youth guy. "Lets get an intern, they're free," I've heard elders reason. The lack of resources aimed at our children's spiritual development is shameful.
On the other hand, parents attending churches that do have youth programs have completely abdicated the responsibility of discipleship of their kids to the 20-something youth-dude or the Sunday school teacher. In fact the data seems to show that Sunday School and youth group is having a detrimental effect.
On this point the researchers and data seem to agree. Ham says, "If you, as a parent, have been putting the responsibility for the religious education of your child on the church's Sunday school, you need to realize that the statistics say the job isn't getting done. As we have seen, in many cases and for many different reasons, it's not helping, it's hurting. This is your job. Do not totally delegate it to someone else -as, sadly many parents seem to do."
OK, digest that. In the next blog entry we'll talk about what to do and what resources are available.