When the message we send isn't the message they get...
All across the country, churches are filled with teachers who work very
hard and take their responsibilities seriously, trying to pass on the faith to another generation. Yet, in spite of their best efforts, 7 out of 8 kids drop
out of church in their teens, the national average age of spiritual growth is 14 years of age, and biblical illiteracy continues to escalate.
These statistics indicate some pretty sad things: With each generation there is a diluting of the story that holds us together; adults are trying to deal with what life drops at their door with a teenage understanding of God; and, sadly,
it means that church is not seen as a place to mature but a place to leave.
But, it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, all of that can be reversed with
an intentional strategic process. Here are a few steps that are a part of that process:
1. Make sure that pastors' or confirmation classes are constantly framed as a beginning and not a graduation. It isn't an accident that many youth leave
the church shortly after finishing such a class.
2. Develop a goal-oriented education system that takes into account growth stages. It helps teachers and students alike in focusing what they study.
3) Invest some accountability in the learning. Put in place ways to ask kids what they know and understand. It adds value, increases learning and retention, and helps learning build from year to year. By not holding them accountable to what they are learning we are actually sending the message that it is optional.
When we make a few basic adjustments in what we do with an eye on the horizon of trying "present everyone mature in Christ" (Colossians 1:28), then
it changes everything. The stakes are so high, why wouldn't we try?