Over the years we have been noticing a steady decrease in Sunday School numbers in our church.
I know in my church (and apparently in churches around the world), we focus on trying to keep high schoolers coming to church every week. According to the data collected by Britt Beemer for Ken Ham’s book “Already Gone: Why Your Kids Will Quit Church and What You Can Do About It“, the problem starts much sooner than high school.
1,000 individuals across the United States, ages 20-29, who used to go to church every week or nearly every week while they were growing up and either very rarely or never go to church today were surveyed in order to determine who was leaving the church and why, and whether or not a solution could be found to stop this epidemic going forward.
According to the results, 40 percent of the kids raised in the church are leaving in their elementary and middle school years!
Now some of the statistical data makes my eyes cross (this is pretty typical for me….!), but honestly, the results are fascinating. Scary, but fascinating. As a mother of young children, I want to be equipped to give them the best Biblical and Spiritual upbringing that I can. Ken Ham very clearly implores us not to leave this training up to Sunday School alone. It’s not enough, and it isn’t as effective as we’d like for it to be. As parents, WE need to step in and teach our kids the things that are relevant and important. And I’ll give you a hint – it starts with Genesis.
As a member of the church that is concerned with Sunday School attendance and their exposure to the Bible, I find this information empowering. There IS something that we can do to prevent the rapid decline of our youth’s church attendance.
A lot of these points hit home with me – especially growing up in public school and attending church every Sunday morning. I can tell you that:
- I learned about Creation on Sundays and Evolution on the weekdays. And for the longest time I didn’t know that one contradicted the other. I thought they could happen cohesively.
- I heard the argument that one day in Genesis could be millions or billions of years on Earth time. I can’t tell you for certain who said that to me, but I know that that “argument” was presented to me.
- I left the church for a while in my high school/college/post-college years. In fact, it wasn’t until I had my son that I started going back to the church that I grew up in (other than on Christmas Eve and sometimes on Easter). My priorities were not in the right place for a very long time, but I knew very strongly that I wanted my children raised in church. THAT is what brought me back to church on a (mostly) regular basis.
- Growing up, I was taught the “light” version of the Bible Stories. Surface stuff, mostly. Not the deep, relationship with our Creator that I have since learned more about in my adult years.
- When my husband and I met, it seemed like we were both in the same place. We were both raised in church, but no longer got up on Sunday mornings to GO to church. At the time, that was enough for me. Now that I’ve grown in my faith and have returned to church, I see that we have differing fundamental beliefs – and that can hurt, sometimes.
These things are NOT what I want for my children. They’re not what I want for the other children of my church.
If you go to the New Leaf Publishing Group website that I linked to above with the title of the book, you’ll see that there are 100,000 copies of this book in print. This book NEEDS to get out to the church leaders, and the people in charge of the Sunday Schools. This needs to get out to parents as well.
Ken Ham and Britt Beemer have identified the source of the problem. They also outline how to get past the problem and to start filling in the gaps that we currently have to keep kids from falling away. I urge you to read this book, and to start putting the solution into action.
The Moms of MasterBooks will be discussing this book on Facebook tomorrow night (Tuesday, October 2nd) at 8PM CST. To join the event, you can go here or like the MasterBooks FaceBook page and join us over there tomorrow night. We will be giving away a number of books at the party, including Already Gone.
Once you’ve “liked” the page, you’ll want to click the “Highlights” down arrow at the center of the page, and click on “Posts By Page” so you don’t miss the conversation. (don’t forget to hit “F5″ or “refresh” often, too).
Hope to see you there!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary paperback copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. No monetary compensation was received.