I just watched a documentary video on the issue of children and youth leaving their parents faith and practices behind as they enter adulthood.
We’ve all heard that upward of 80% of our youth do not remain in church attendance as adults and the documentary is suggesting that it has to do with segregating children into their own Sunday Schools and programs away from their parents and adults.
This is something that I have wondered out loud about over the years, but until viewing this video documentary, I never had data to support my concern. Now, this video documentary points to the ungodly ancient practice of separating children from parents, the atheistic formula for segregating children by age in school class rooms, and mimicking of that practice in developing Sunday Schools.
It occurred to me when we started CrossHope Chapel that being an all-age integrated fellowship was actually allowing for youth and children to see parents and adults talking about the things of God and studying the Bible together.
Think of it, in a traditional church program where children and youth are segregated they grow up not seeing their parents in God’s Word, not experience fellowship with other generations, then as adults they are suddenly sat in a pew and told this is how church is for adults. So we put them through years of entertainment and now tell them to sit and listen to the professional perform church for you. No wonder they walk away.
Some of my takeaways from the video documentary below: We’ve been robbing parents and fathers of actually leading their own children (which is their responsibility not a youth pastor), the office of a youth pastor isn’t even a biblical concept, segregating worship gatherings according to age is not a biblical concept, and that the idea of kids leaving their faith behind in college is a myth – only 10% leave their faith in college but 45% leave it in High School and 43% leave it in middle school.
No wonder we hear so many youth stating that “authentic Christianity” is what they want. They’ve been locked in rooms with the same experiences they get at a concert hall, a pizza place, or Starbucks.
No wonder they reject the religion of their parents because they’ve been kept from being “trained up in the way they should go” as they watched Mom and Dad scurry off to the “big church” that has only “big church” stuff so when they are in middle school they are apparently already dreading the day they have to enter that “big church” world.
Let me be quick to add that in my applause for this documentary I am not advocating or suggesting that children’s or youth programs are wrong or do not have a ministry in the local church for today’s Kingdom work. I would hope that children’s and youth ministers would be convicted to keep their programs centered on Bible teaching, but ultimately my concern is only the context of the fellowship that God’s has assigned me to shepherd.
Of course, if you have any questions, please ask!
You can read about how we approach Children’s Ministry at CrossHope Chapel at https://www.crosshopechapel.org/fellowship/childrens-ministry/