The Dropout Dilemma

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Why Bring Faith Home?

New Stat Video: The Dropout DilemmaThe Dropout Dilemma

God, who knows us completely, has told us to impress the knowledge and love of Him on our children.  Parents, even very religious parents, are losing their children to the world.  Why? (Click picture to view video)  Homes Devoted™ partners with churches and families to inspire and equip parents to impress their faith at home….So the next generation will know.  There is hope.  God has shown us the way through His son, Jesus.  Let’s band together to raise up a generation for the Lord!

For all of you who like to see the stats, here they are.  Look for our next email which will reveal the positive stats and ideas for how to pass on our faith!

George Barna says this in his book Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions: “We discovered that in a typical week, fewer than 10 percent of parents who regularly attend church with their kids read the Bible together, pray together (other than at mealtimes) or participate in an act of service as a family unit. Even fewer families—1 out of every 20—have any type of worship experience together with their kids, other than while they are at church during a typical month.” (Barna, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, p. 78)

Mark A. Holmen, in his book,  states, “They [families] might come to church on a regular basis or enroll their children in church programs, but when it comes to talking about faith, praying together, reading the Bible in the home or doing devotions as a family, these practices simply aren’t happening.”

I have talked with many, many parents and found this to be so true. Married couples aren’t praying together and most do not pray or read the Bible with their children. Are we showing our kids how God can be involved in every decision and aspect of our lives? Do our kids see us pray with a faith that trusts God will come through? Do we talk about God when we wake up? Do you talk about God after school, in the car, on the way to practice, doing chores, at dinner, before you go to bed?

The Search Institute in a nationwide study found that only “12% of youth have a regular dialog with their mom on faith/life issues. In other words, one out of eight kids talks with their mom about their faith. 5% of kids have regular faith/life conversations with their dad.”

Here is the result:

Drew Dyck, in an article in Christianity Today entitled: The Leavers: Young Doubters Exit the Church, writes about the exodus of young adults from the church calling them “leavers”:  “What pushed them out? Again, the reasons for departing in each case were unique, but I realized that most leavers had been exposed to a superficial form of Christianity that effectively inoculated them against authentic faith.”
Children in lots of churches today worldwide are not seeing authentic faith lived out in their homes.

In their book, ReThink, Steve Wright with Chris Graves quote a TIME Magazine article that points to research which found that 61 percent of the adults polled who are now in their twenties said they had participated in church activities as teens but no longer do. Some argue that young people typically drift from organized religion in early adulthood, but others say the high attrition is a sign that churches need to change the way they try to engage the next generation. (page 18 of. Sonja Steptoe/Bellflower, “In Touch with Jesus”, Time Magazine, October 31, 2006)

The Southern Baptist Convention conducted a thorough study of families within their churches and found that:
88 percent of the children raised in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18, never to return.
— The divorce ratio among members of evangelical churches is virtually the same as among non-church members.

I wonder if each denomination conducted the same kind of research what they would find. My hunch is it wouldn’t be much different (or what I fear is that it would be worse.)

LifeWay Research found that 70 percent of young adults ages twenty-three to thirty stopped attending church regularly for at least a year between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. They also found that 20 percent more of those who did not leave the church had a family member who talked to them about spiritual things. (p. 20 of his book….LifeWay Reseach, 2007)

USA Today reported on the same LifeWay research as above. However, they said that the news wasn’t “all bad.” Thirty-five percent of those who dropped out of church started coming back by the age of thirty. It is a sad day when churches comfort themselves with the fact that around one-third of drop outs later return which still means around two-thirds leave the church for good after student ministry.”

Sociologist Christian Smith concluded, “Most teenagers and their parents may not realize it, but a lot of research in the sociology of religion suggests that the most important social influence in shaping young people’s religious lives is the religious life modeled and taught to them by their parents.”

As Christian Smith more simply summarized at a panel at Fuller Seminary, “When it comes to kids’ faith, parents get what they are.”

Richard Ross said, “Spiritually lethargic parents result in spiritually lethargic children.” D6 Conference, 2012

My good friend Jim, told me that his neighbor got extremely upset with their two teenage daughters because one day they declared they didn’t believe in God. “I didn’t raise them like that!”, he said. “We believe in God and it’s important that they believe in God too.” Jim was taken back by such a reaction because he knew that they didn’t go to church (the weekends were too busy and full of stuff to do like boating.) They didn’t pray together or read the Bible together or serve together. They didn’t invite God in to any aspect of their lives. Why would they be shocked to find out their kids don’t believe in God? Why would their daughters believe in God?

Socialogist, Christian Smith with Melinda Lundquist Denton, after the most detailed study of 3,000 churched teenagers and their religious views found that most teenagers have a religious belief which they termed “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.” Here is a summary of what this means: (See the full description at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moralistic_therapeutic_deism)

God exists and wants us to be morally good. God wants us to “be happy and to feel good about oneself.” God is there when we want him “something like a combination Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist.” And that all good people go to heaven when they die.

So, most teenagers believe in a God that is nice, wants us to be nice and happy, doesn’t interfere with our issues unless we call on him for help.

I will wrap up these stats with this last one that will either make you delete this from your computer or spur you on to change the way your church does ministry.

CNN online featured an article, “More Teens Becoming Fake Christians” on Kenda Creasy Dean’s new book Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church. (Oxford University Press, 2010). She writes, “The problem does not seem to be that churches are teaching young people badly, but that we are doing an exceedingly good job of teaching youth what we really believe, namely, that Christianity is not a big deal, that God requires little, and the church is a helpful social institution filled with nice people…” She goes on to say that “if churches practice MTD (Moralistic Therapeutic Deism) in the name of Christianity, then getting teenagers to church more often is not the solution (conceivably it could make things worse).  A more faithful church is the solution…”

God, may we have more faithful churches and more faithful homes, completely devoted to YOU!

 

 

Written by Jonathan

Jonathan

Rev. Jonathan Cronkhite has been
serving youth and families in full time
ministry for the last 23 years. With the heart
of a pastor, he encourages and equips families to have Homes
Devoted, through conferences, workshops, coaching and writing. Married to Carrie for 17 years, they have 5 children, run a home school co-op, drama club and chess club and invite 50 people over once a month for airsoft battles.

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Jonathan

Rev. Jonathan Cronkhite has been serving youth and families in full time ministry for the last 23 years. With the heart of a pastor, he encourages and equips families to have Homes Devoted, through conferences, workshops, coaching and writing. Married to Carrie for 17 years, they have 5 children, run a home school co-op, drama club and chess club and invite 50 people over once a month for airsoft battles.

Comments (3)

  • Joe D McGinnis

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    Great Job pulling these stats together. As a Family Pastor, I’m often burdened with the reality of where our kids are …and more importantly, how our families and parents ignore this reality. We need to raise a generation of leaders and world changers. Keep up the good work!

    Reply

    • Jonathan

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      Thanks Joe. I am with you. It is so hard to communicate in a way that really changes the parent’s views on what their role is and the importance of their role when it comes to discipling their own children. I don’t know if this helps you or not, but it isn’t their fault. This is a good reminder for me. It’s really the fault of those of us who have been in ministry for a long time and for some reason have not emphasized the importance of the role of parents in the spiritural nurturing of their faith. For this we must apologize and press onward toward the prize as we train, equip and encourage parents to turn their hearts towards their children and their children towards them. One family at a time, Joe! Hang tough and keep the vision in front of them.

      Reply

  • ryan

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    Great post, keep up with the hard work, you

    Reply

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