This whole article is worth reading whether or not you have children. Here is just a portion of the article.
View church ministry through ‘family lens,’ conference speakers urge
… Lance Crowell, an SBTC church ministries associate, shares Ross’s conviction that at least a generation has grown up largely seeing the church ministers as the experts. Crowell said, “One thing has to happen. We have to answer the questions, ‘Are people really growing in the Word, and is that happening in the home? Are students growing up in the Word? Or are parents lost as to what to do to help that?”
Three resulting ‘disconnects’
More and more vocational staffers and ministry specialists have in many churches led to one type of disconnect—extensive segregation, according to Waylan Owens, dean of the Terry School of Church and Family Ministries at Southwestern Seminary. While Owens agrees that some segregation is useful, he also cautions that dividing all ministries according to age or life situation or preference serves to dishonor parents, dishonor the senior citizens, and dishonor the children and what they can add to the faith experience of adults.
Speaking to the conference, Owens said, “Many times I go to churches and it seems there is always someone who wants to take my children from me. They take them to Sunday School, then to children’s church. The youth have their own Sunday School, their own worship, and their own Sunday night thing. I have gotten in trouble for wanting to keep my children with me.”
In a breakout session on home-based student ministry, Ken Lasater, Crowell’s colleague at the SBTC whose job title includes student ministry, noted a second disconnect: “Our students are not developing lifelong connections to the church.”
In recent years, research has indicated that between 70-90 percent of churched students leave the church after high school. While LifeWay Research numbers from 2007 indicated a minority of young adults who leave the church eventually return to their faith roots, Lasater said that the most recent statistics indicate that about 90 percent are leaving, not to return.
According to Lasater, their reasons for leaving vary and they seldom go away in anger. Without responsibilities to fulfill at their church or someone expecting them to be there, they stay away, and eventually fade away lacking any deep connection. Lasater said it’s important to note that most of these students are good kids from all socio-economic levels, achieving great things academically, and that their absence is not due to some great rebellion.
“Some have suggested that churches fail to do little more than entertain them, until they are tired of the entertainment. Others suggest that the current church model is entirely wrong, due to not having parents as the singular leadership role for students, and that this has been the sole cause of the falling away of the student population,” Lasater explained.
Another disconnect comes as parents of each successive generation generally become less and less grounded in their beliefs, thus lacking in passion and devotion as well.
Crowell encourages churches to think about how their families would answer these questions: “How equipped do you feel? Do you feel that you can go home and have spiritual conversations? Would your children ask questions that you don’t feel comfortable answering? Parents, are you growing in maturity at home and becoming more like Christ?”
“Muscles that are not used quickly atrophy,” Ross told the TEXAN.
He added, “Parents who depend on the church for the spiritual development of their children tend to atrophy as well. Our churches are packed with parents who are just ‘good ol’ Baptists,’ but are not deeply in love with Christ, do not adore him at the beginning of the day, and who think little about his kingdom purposes as they move through life. That never was God’s plan. When one generation always is focused on spiritually leading the next, both stay more spiritually alive.” …
Here are a few ways my church is trying to address this issue.
1) Families worship together.
2) Children and youth are active participants in the church. This is not the typical occasional participation in a special service or in a youth group, but every Sunday with the congregation. Children and youth are encouraged to use their talents by playing hymns or special music. The young men are encouraged to help with tables and garbage. The young ladies are encouraged to help with the meal preparation, serving and cleaning. Sound, projection, website design, bulletins, videoing, etc. can be delegated to the young men. When they don’t know how to do these things we can be willing to teach them and not worry about perfect services.
3) The bulletin includes some Baptist Catechism questions and a hymn of the month for families to work thorough with their children at home. Who knows, parents may learn a thing or two, also, as they help their children.
Is your church losing their youth once they begin to drive or else when they graduate?
Do the adults stop coming as often once the children are grown?
Do you even notice the trends in your church or denomination?