Recently I’ve been doing my own personal survey to find out why so many kids who grow up in the church choose to disregard church after their high school years. I’ve been in student and kids ministry for over 30 years. During the years I’ve worked really hard to help the churches that I’ve served provide comprehensive ministries for young people in the areas of all spiritual disciplines. I have trained leaders and parents in how to equip kids in and through Bible Studies, Discipleship Classes, weekly church services, camps, trips, retreats, service projects, mission trips, and other events. I’ve organized opportunities to cover lessons throughout the Bible using large groups, small groups, and one-on-one instruction. I’ve given parents resources to follow-up with their kids at home as well.
Here’s my frustration. With all that we are attempting to make happen through the church, a large number of students stray from the church when they graduate from high school. When I individually asked a large number of good churched young adults why this happens they all gave me similar answers. As a parent trying to raise good godly kids I’m sure you are interested in their answers, right?
So what are they saying? Here goes… Most kids, even Christian kids will, in most cases, follow the examples learned in their home more so than the church. The influence that you have as a parent is unbelievable! Never underestimate the power and authority that God has given you with your kids. Now that we are reminded of this, what do we do?
Well, for starters, you need to know that the way you lead your family matters. Second, you need to realize that the church, though it plays a part, is not totally responsible for the spiritual growth of your kids, you are. Kids who stray after high school have shared many interesting findings about the homes they grew up in.
· They went to church regularly, often on both Sundays and Wednesdays.
· They went to camps, retreats and even mission trips.
· They loved and respected God and had an appreciation for the church staff.
· They would leave church on Sunday and never talk about church or what they heard at church after they left the church campus.
· They would schedule their week based on worldly priorities not godly ones.
· They would hear unwholesome talk and see inconsistencies in the way their parents lived.
· Bible reading would not take place in the home by neither parents nor kids.
· Although positive communication took place within the home, very seldom was there a conversation of any spiritual nature.
Bottom-line: Kids are watching and learning from what they experience at home. Let’s be spiritually consistent parents and allow God to lead us during the week as well as on Sundays.
More to come, Ric Callahan
Pastor to Families at Westwood Baptist Church in Alabaster, AL