My daughter and I were traveling together and enjoyed visiting in the car. One of the topics that came up was the church youth group. There were six people her age attending Sunday School when she was a teenager. She is the only one that as an adult is spiritually engaged.
I often quote a George Barna report that 61% of young adults who attended church as teenagers, are no longer spiritually engaged. That number was shocking to me, but the reality set in as the math for my daughter’s class came out at 83%.
We talked further about what made the difference. Was their experience at church relevant to them? Was God a reality even if church meant little? Which had the greater influence—church or parents?
In terms of time, the church had limited influence. At most their time in church was 3 hours out of 168 hours in a week—about 1.5%. This was basically true of both those who rejected or retained Godly values. Compared to all the other activities in their lives, this was their primary exposure to spiritual things.
We talked about the parents. How spiritually engaged were the parents? What part did church play in the life of the parents?
My daughter concluded that for each of her contemporaries, the parents relied on the church to provide all the spiritual training; whereas, in her case, the primary spiritual training took place in the home.
In this discussion we noted that sometimes people reject the formal church, but remain spiritually engaged. This did not appear to be the case with her contemporaries. They seemed to be ignoring or rejecting God, as well. "They say to God, 'Depart from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of Your ways’.” Job 21:14
George Barna stated in his book, Revolutionary Parenting, that the most important role for the church in influencing children is to train the parents. I passionately believe that, and offer resources and support to churches for parents who are intentionally raising their children to become Christian adults.
Millie McNabb, founder of Christian Values Legacy, offers parenting seminars that focus on passing on your Christian values. Request your free report “Considerations for Intentionally Raising Children to Become Christian Adults” today at www.ChristianValuesLegacy.com.