What if bible stories aren't enough?

Nearly 70% of church-raised high school graduates are walking away from their faith and the church after entering the college campus.

Let me put a face on that statistical reality. I will soon have four boys, Cooper, Dylan, Ryder and Tate. (Tate should make his arrival in mid to late December.) If this statistic holds true, two of my boys, possibly three, will abandon their faith after they leave our home.

It will be tossed aside like old cleats, high school trophies, too-small clothes-outgrown and unnecessary.

Think about it in terms of the children in your family. How will your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews fair? What about the kids in youth group or in nursery and children's church for that matter? Etch their faces in your minds. Time is moving faster, children maturing earlier and our culture becoming more and more antagonistic to Christ-followers.

I read statistics like this one and think, "not my kids." My kids will be different.

I've talked with parents whose children have walked away. Their kids knew the stories too. Their kids were shuffled to Sunday School, weeknight church programs, youth camps and bible studies. They played the sword drills. They could recite the right answers.

These were the kids the surveyed; the study conducted by a major evangelical denomination. These young adults were inside our church culture, raised in church-saturated homes. They weren't on the periphery. They are my kids, and probably yours too.

So what happens?

I'm still trying to master potty training and "please and thank you," so clearly I don't have the answers. But as I pray through this sobering reality God is whispering that not having all the answers doesn't mean I can ignore the question.

So what if bible stories aren't enough?

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Tony McCollum said...

Excellent food for though, Whitney. As a pastor and a parent of four kids, these sort of stats keep me up at night.

I also pastored a church in Athens for many years and say this falling away syndrome first hand. It was amazing to see so many graduate from youth group and out of the church.

I certainly don't have all the answers but I think that the way we do youth groups doesn't serve the kids very well. I actually think that we would be better served to graduate the kids into the adult service at age 16 or older. This would help them to transition into the adult culture and adult church better.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we don't teach our kids how to go to church. We teach them how to go to children's church. Then, when the major transition into adulthood occurs they are on their own to handle it.

Just my thoughts.

Thanks again for the great post.

Evan Posey said...

Great post Whit. This is a critical issue and one that is close to my heart. As I consider these 3 (soon to be four) fellas, I pray that by the mercies of God we might be used to put a dent in these discouraging statistics. Proud of you, and excited for the ready….let’s go!

Sharon Sloan said...

His grace is sufficient. His truth is life. His sacrificial, perfect love is faithful. He loves our cherubs more than we Our anchor of faith in HIM is enough.

And whoooeeee, Whitney, motherhood...more than any other thing in my life...keeps me on my knees before His throne of grace! I pray daily that He keeps them on His narrow (NKJV says "difficult") road that leads to life, that they yield their hearts to His Holy Spirit every moment and that their hearts remain humble, teachable, fertile soil for the Truth.

Oh, Lord....only by Your grace.

Cute picture! :) Will pray for Baby Tate right now!


Anonymous said...

Hi Whit,
So happy to see you back again. I listened to a sermon & thought of you. Matt Chandler from The Village Church in Dallas, talks almost directly about what you are burdened with. He is a great man of God & always gives me a good laugh in the morning. Click on the link & then the sermon titled Putting it All Together. I know this will soften your heart to remember that God is all knowing & sovereign.

With love,
Sara Bodine (a mommy of 2 little boys)

Carol said...

WOW. Thank you for challenging me today!!! God help us to teach truth that anchors down deep.