It’s the Simple Things
Prepare to be alarmed. Studies show 75% of kids who are part of a strong evangelical church will leave the church and any connection to Christ from age 18-29. Ponder that.
On a Sunday morning at our church we have a room of 100 first through third graders. If this statistic holds true, 75 of those kids, when they graduate from high school, will discontinue any affiliation with a local church and not pursue a relationship with Christ.
Someone might ask, “What are we doing wrong that 75% of evangelical church kids end up exiting?”
Yet, the real question to ask is, “What was happening right for the 25% who stayed?”
Prepare to be alarmed, again. Research shows 5 things were true of the 25% who DID NOT leave the church and a relationship with Christ from age 18-29:
- Ate dinner 5 nights a week as a family.
- Served WITH their families in a faith-based ministry.
- Had at least one significant spiritual experience in the home during the week.
- Were entrusted with significant responsibility in a ministry at a young age.
- Had at least one adult in their lives, other than their parents, who believed the same thing as their parents.
Why am I alarmed by the results of this study? Because it is not rocket science. It should be within my capability to eat dinner five nights a week with my family. It is alarming to me that something as seemingly inconsequential as eating dinner together could result in my child desiring to worship Christ when they leave my home.
I’m alarmed by this finding. Interestingly enough, the likelihood of these items happening in a kids life seems to be up to the parents, not the success or failing of the local church. Ouch.
There are no magic levers. These five items are not an elixir for “everything to be okay.” There is no perfect formula or panacea. Trust me, if there were a lever to be pulled, it would have been pulled by now and we would not be having this conversation. I need the Holy Spirit. I need God’s help. Ultimately, this is His work.
But, I believe we have a role to play. It comes down to intentional engagement. This week, be intentional, be with your kids and continue to trust God.
- Recall: What five factors were present in the 25% of young adults who remained in the church?
- Reflect: How many of the five factors happen consistently in your family?
- Respond: Which of these factors will you be intentionally implementing in your family?
- Rethink: What are you doing right now to trust God with your children’s lives?