Last week, I introduced an article by Marc Solas concerning the reasons why our children are leaving the church once they leave the home.  While I do not agree with everything Marc has to say, this particular article has some rather important lessons that we as parents, grandparents, and members of this church out to take under serious consideration.  Last week we looked at the 1st five reasons why the youth of America are leaving the church.  We discussed he fact that the church was made relevant in today’s culture.  In other words, there was little separating it from the world.  We discussed the fact that many never attend church to begin with.  We entertained them, but never encouraged them to be a part of the actual body of Christ that is God centered and not man centered.  They were challenged to think in college and we sent them out unprepared.  We treated them as if they were incapable of handing the deeper issues of faith (perhaps that is because we can’t either).  And finally, we also discussed the fact that we gave them a hand-me down faith.  We taught them our feelings rather than sharing with them the truth of the Gospel, the true faith builder.  Let us now turn our attention to the last 5 reasons the youth are leaving the church.
5.  Community.  The way Marc describes community is not seem so much in the Lord‘s church.  It describes the social functions that have been plaguing the denominations for the last 20+ years.  However, there is still a warning here unto the young people.  Being religious is not something you do as just part of a church.  Yes, the church is needed.  However, if all you get out of gathering with the saints is a since of belonging, there will be other “communities” that can provide that since of belonging.  We need to be certain that while we provide a family like atmosphere, that we at the same time, teach these children the importance of faith in their daily lives.
4.  They found better feelings  When faith is not grounded in God’s word, they are going to like how they feel doing other things than God’s.  While there can be joy in doing righteousness, the pleasures of sin can also be enticing.  When our children go off to college (or enter the work force) they are going to be learning who they are.  They are going to no longer be identifying themselves as an extension of their parents, but rather as their own person.  What “felt” right to the parents won’t necessarily “feel” right to the kid.    Maybe the do prefer drinking with guys on Friday nights.  Maybe the do prefer dancing with the girls on Saturday night. 
If we fail to properly prepare our children, these feelings are going to lead them astray.  We have to begin now to teach them that it is not about feeling, but about what is right and wrong.  Teach them now to trust God’s way and not their “feelings.”
3.  They got tired of pretending.   I am just as much at fault as any other preacher.  We here many sermons about how we are to rejoice in the Lord always.  We spend time talking about how the Christian ought to consider it joy when we encounter various trials.  But brethren, we full well know, it is not always easy.  As these young people leave the security of home, things are going to get more difficult.  They are not going to always be happy.  There are going to be stressors.  Rather than setting our children up for failure, it would be better to teach them how to be prepared for the harsh realities of the world.  Rather than merely studying about the love of Jesus, maybe we should spend some time talking about Jeremiah or Elijah or Samuel or Samson.  Each of these prophets and judges suffered greatly in their life.  They learned how hard life can be.  Some of them in the process provided us with some good lessons on how to overcome the trials we face.  Stop teaching your children to pretend to be a happy Christian.  Encourage them to be honest with God.  Even if it means saying, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.”
2.  They knew the truth.    Or at least, they know the truth concerning the lies that are too often said to them.  Marc does seem to overemphasize the need for grace, as if teaching the kids the law is the very reason the young people are leaving the church.  But, if the church is neglecting to teach about God’s grace it makes sense.  If they are spending their adolescent lives learning that little hands don’t do this, little tongues don’t say that, and little eyes refuse to look at those things.  If they spend their teen years being told that good kids don’t drink and good kids do their bible lesson and good kids are courteous unto God.  And when they reach that college age they begin to hear how we must do this, and we must refrain from that or we are condemned.  (Now, I am not saying that teaching right before is wrong).  We teach these things while we fail to teach them about God’s grace, the kids see the results of our teaching.  They can’t be perfect.  That is the truth and it leads them to believe…. 
1.  They don‘t need it.   Who needs an empty faith that in the end makes you feel bad for not being perfect?  What are kids need is “the full impact of the law, their sin before God, and their desperate need for the atoning work of Christ. Now THAT is relevant, THAT is authentic, and THAT is something the world cannot offer (from Marc‘s original article).”   Brethren, there are too many young people here to lose another 70%.  Let us be better for their sake.
To read his entire article go to
www.marc5solas.wordpress.com
~WTK

Grinnell church of Christ
 
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10 Reasons Our Kids Leave the Church Part 2

The Light
Volume 4 Issue 13