I’m in the process of reading Ken Ham and Britt Beemer’s book Already Gone. For years, I’ve shared the statistics showing some 70% to 80% percent of our youth abanding the church after high school graduation. But, Already Gone gives some fresh insight to this mass exodus.
These authors and pollsters surveyed some 1,000 20-somethings that had abandoned the church seeking to discover the when and why of their departure. Without going into a lengthy overview of their study, the one fact that absolutely startled me was that some 40% of those leaving the church left after moving up from the children’s and middle school ministries. Did you get that? Four hundred of the thousand who left the church did so after leaving the ministries that are under our supervision and oversight.
I know that there are numerous factors involved … peer pressure, home life, media influence, etc. along with perhaps the “disability” that our ministries face with our inability to “compete” with the decor and high tech of Disney. With all of these factors not in our favor, should we just resign to the fact that we are powerless to reverse the trend? Should we continue to allow the back door to remain open and watch the kids flee?
NO!!! If anything, these factors should cause us to walk into the service with the same resolve written by the apostle Paul. With our present methods not producing the desired results, we need to walk into our classes and services with IRREFUTABLE evidence that what we preach and teach is UNDENIABLY true.
What was Paul’s resolve? “My teaching and preaching were not with words of human wisdom that persuade people but with proof of the power that the Spirit gives. This was so that your faith would be in God’s power and not in human wisdom.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 (New Century Version).
Let’s make it hard for our kids to leave our ministry and go into the world. Let’s allow our children to know that they know that they know that God is real. Let’s allow the boys and girls to be able to voice Simeon’s words found in Luke 2:30 “With my own eyes I have seen your salvation.” (New Century Version)