Top 6 Reasons We are Losing our Kids
Why are our kids falling away from the values and core beliefs that we, as parents, want for them? What has happened in our parenting and in our families and in our churches? Have we missed or forgotten something? For the past several years I have been looking for a connection to help answer these questions. The answers may surprise you.
Statistics from most churches where we’ve taught tell the same story. In fact, one youth pastor told me that the families in his church look no different from the families outside his church. He went on to say that his church is losing the battle for kids and families. He knew something was missing; he just wasn’t sure what ‘it’ was.
Over the past year we have asked several pastors if they agree with the feelings from this youth pastor. The overwhelming answer has been “yes.” At the moment we are losing this battle. But the question we must ask and face is “why?” Only after answering this question can we formulate a plan to win them back. But do not lose hope. As we learn to become intentional, God can and will change the generations.
Recently I asked the Lord to show me something I couldn’t see in the natural relating to this issue. I asked for revelation; I was burdened over families. As the answer became clear, I heard a song that drove the point home.
John Mayer is a talented artist. Like most successful artists, he markets his music to a certain demographic. John Mayer’s core market is young adults between the ages of 17 and 30. This age group has grown up in a postmodern era. Post modernism is defined as, in short, a lack of belief in anything absolute. But they are not without their beliefs. They are quick to tell the rest of the world, “don’t judge me,” “if it feels good it must be okay,” “narcissism is a good thing,” “I’m not responsible for anyone but myself,” and “we must be tolerant of everyone and everything.”
I’m sure you’ve heard the song, “Waiting for the World to Change.” If not, click on this link (http://youtu.be/REqz9D7OWZE) and pay close attention to the lyrics. It’s a song without hope. Our youth and young adults listening to it are obviously listening in agreement, as John Mayer’s albums have sold millions of copies and have won many awards. See more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waiting_on_the_World_to_Change.
So, why do our youth and young adults feel this way? Why wait for the world to change?
1. They have never seen real (manifested) fruit in their own homes.
Many of these kids have grown up in our churches. They have gone through the motions and watched their parents do the same. But most of them have never seen or experienced God at home in a real (i.e., seen the evidence) significant way. So Love, Joy, Peace (Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22) and Holy Spirit power (1 Corinthians 12) are only words in a book. It’s a great concept but not a true reality, at least for them. Kids say the evidence they see in their homes is divorced, fatherless, broken, fearful and angry families, and they don’t want any part of it. Why should they do anything if this is the outcome? Why not just play video games, have sex for pleasure, make no real effort, stay single and uncommitted and just wait for the world to change?
2. Our kids and our young adults don’t believe in destiny.
One of the greatest gifts parents can give children is to help them see and to believe that they were made (fashioned together) and blessed (set apart, holy, consecrated) to subdue (overcome) the world. This is a big deal. The God of all creation allows us to be over-comers of the world. Not to wait for the world to change, but to change it. And we have everything we need to do it. Isn’t this why Jesus said He must go so the Helper (the Holy Spirit) can come and we can do even greater things (John 16:7, 14:12)? So why don’t they believe? They don’t see their parents living in their destiny as over-comers.
3. They have been told churches are hospitals for the sick.
Our churches need to become training centers and workout facilities to bring about spiritual health by training up parents and families until they are not just hearers of the Word but also doers of the Word. Families should emerge from church healthier than they were when they went in, and there should be evidence of what happened while they were there. We need to be committed to work and train until we see the evidence of the fruit and the power in our families so families can go home and reproduce the fruit and power we are designed to manifest. Churches need to be seen as medical schools for training and not places where the sick go. Until our homes bear this evidence of health, restoration, healing, fruit and power, our kids have no reason to believe it’s for them as well. So what do they do? They wait for the world to change.
4. Discipling our kids is not the responsibility of the church.
Of course, the church plays a vital role in the life of our kids, but as soon as the church takes on the responsibility of training up our children, we begin to lose the battle—it’s the parent’s responsibility to train up our children, not the church’s. Every youth pastor wants a parent who is doing in the kitchen and the living room at home what they are trying to confirm in the youth room. This is a partnership, or a shift in attitude, we must insist on. We must hold parents and families accountable for discipleship and not the churches.
5. We focus on form over function.
We are a blended family, but that is not our focus. Recently, we were invited to be a part of a summit to help churches launch ministries to address blended or step family issues that describe over 50% of our church body. Do we really need another silo ministry for families to work on the brokenness? You can find brokenness in all forms of families: step, blended, co-habitating, co-parenting, single parent, even the conventional two-parent one-marriage family. Form is not nearly as important as the function of a family.
We should focus on the function (effectiveness and purposefulness) of a family rather than its form. We should invite and invest in all forms of a family and encourage them to participate in training that would allow them to function and manifest the fruit and the power God intended for us. No labels, no judgment; just love and training to change the outcome for them, their children and for generations to come.
6. We have not trained the trainers.
In addition to helping individual families, we must help our leaders and lead trainers to effectively disciple (train to a desired result) families, and then multiply the training to other families. The real multiplication of success happens when families are trained into competence, and then turned out to train other families.
Almost every pastor we’ve worked with really loves people, and they have great Bible knowledge. But most pastors lack any training to disciple families to a level where they are demonstrating the evidence of the fruit and the power described so much in Scripture. Family training should be the centerpiece of what our churches do. But the pastor cannot do it alone.
God created family for a purpose, a supernatural purpose. We must be committed to equipping them to live the abundant life for the sake of our children, and for the generations to come. This is the vision of C2 Family: to put the truth of God’s word into use for families and to provide practical solutions to overcome our culture - one family at a time.