5 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR KIDS HATE CHURCH

by Thomas Weaver

from The Resurgence

1. Make sure your faith is only something you live out in public

Go to church… at least most of the time. Make sure you agree with what you hear the preacher say, and affirm on the way home what was said especially when it has to do with your kids obeying, but let it stop there. Don’t read your Bible at home. The pastor will say everything you need to hear on Sundays. Don’t engage your children in questions they have concerning Jesus and God. Live like you want to live during the week so that your kids can see that duplicity is ok.

2. Pray only in front of people

The only times you need to pray are when your family is over, holiday meals, when someone is sick, and when you want something. Besides that, don’t bother. Your kids will see you pray when other people are watching, no need to do it with them in private.

3. Focus on your morals

Make sure you insist your kids be honest with you. Let them know it is the right thing for them to do, but then feel free to lie in your own life and disregard the need to tell them and others the truth. Get very angry with your children when they say words that are “naughty” and “bad”, but post, read, watch, and say whatever you want on TV, Facebook, and Twitter. Make sure you focus on being a good person. Be ambiguous about what this means.

4. Give financially as long as it doesn’t impede your needs

Make a big deal out of giving at church. Stress the need to your children the value of tithing, while not giving sacrificially yourself. Allow them to see you spend a ton of money on what you want, while negating your command from Scripture to give sacrificially.

5. Make church community a priority… as long as there is nothing else you want to do

Hey, you are a church going family, right? I mean, that’s what you tell your friends and family anyways. Make sure you attend on Sundays. As long as you didn’t stay up too late Saturday night. Or your family isn’t having a big barbeque. Or the big game isn’t on. Or this week you just don’t feel like it. Or… I mean, you’re a church-going family, so what’s the big deal?

WHY TEENS, YOUNG ADULTS ARE LEAVING THE CHURCH

BY SHERYL YOUNG from Yahoo News Service

ANALYSIS | For the last decade, churches in America have felt the pinch of young people exiting faster than you can say “Welcome to Sunday Morning Service.” Why do our young people want out?

At a glance, it’s no puzzlement to the man on the street. As discussed in my recent article, “New Organization, Book Explores Reversing the Church’s Bad Reputation,” numerous controversial issues have been handled ungracefully while trying to tell the rest of the world about Jesus and His love.

But for Christians who wish to return America to a more Bible-friendly atmosphere, there are even deeper conflicts and symptoms to be recognized.

Starting from kids on up, a great variety of reasons for the exodus exists. The following are gathered and generalized from well-informed sources: “Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Faith …and How to Bring Them Back,” (Drew Dyck, Moody Publishing, Oct 2010), “Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it” (Ken Ham & Britt Beemer, Todd Hillard, New Leaf, Aug 2009); “The Last Christian Generation” (McDowell, Green Key, 2006); and Lifeway Christian Resource Surveys from 2007 and 2010.

* Churched kids and teens spend six of seven days each week hearing other people say how judgmental Christianity is, and that the Bible should be taboo.

* Churches use outdated methods of Sunday School, rotating the same Bible stories year-in and year-out without relating the morals to daily living. When kids want to know why someone like Gabrielle Giffords was shot, they don’t need another lesson on Noah’s Ark.

* Teens can only eat so much pizza at church social events before they see through this thinly veiled attempt at keeping them occupied and out of trouble.

* Those surveyed say there aren’t enough good reasons given for holding Bible beliefs other than “the preacher says so…” or “your parents say so.”

* Sometimes kids are routinely kept out of “grown-up church.” From infancy to four years old, they’re in nursery. Then they get “children’s church” with a short Bible lesson, crafts and refreshments. For teens, a separate youth service geared to “their” music. By eighteen, they’ve never been expected to sit through a whole Sunday service. It’s culture shock.

* Young people can see that the Church in general hasn’t yet been able to conquer racial reconciliation, domestic abuse and the rampant church divorce rate…sometimes in their own families.

* Older generations won’t blend a moderate amount of contemporary music with traditional hymns, to show young people that newer ideas are respected.

* Or, the Church feels pressured to impress their younger members with new technological avenues. So they discard all the old hymns that were written out of peoples’ struggles with life, pride and suffering. Thus, the newer generations don’t hear about how God can help them through hard times.

* Parents are expecting the church to teach what may fall within their own responsibility.

* But then, young parents raised in the last twenty years have themselves grown up under the new pop psychology of never receiving or deserving any discipline or criticism. They’ve seen church become irrelevant. Now, as parents, they’re hesitant to make (or even ask) their kids to go to church or develop a backbone in faith.

* Lastly, everyone’s too busy for church. There are too many other attractions in life.

Many church leaders may pick up these books and surveys only to find the suggested answers to the problems are things their church already tried. Others may not have the means or congregational support to implement changes.

And still more will find it such a daunting task that they just throw up their hands. Maybe it’s time to do just that — throw hands up and pray, rather than create more programs — and leave the rest up to God.

Sheryl Young has been freelance writing for newspapers, magazines, organizations and websites since 1997. Her specialty is American politics, education and society as they intersect with religion. Credits include Community Columnist for the Tampa Tribune Newspaper, Interview Columnist with Light & Life Magazine, and a National First Place “Roaring Lambs” Writing Award from the Amy Foundation.

BEACH PARTYAND BAPTISMS

Sharing a testimony

In the past year the student ministry at my church has exploded. Called BURN it seeks to help kids develop a deep desire for God. A Wednesday night youth worship gathering is the front door and chief engine used by the Spirit for this ministry. It is led by a passionate and grounded young man named Jeremy Moyer. Instead of the typical youth group that is, to quote Ed Stetzer, “a holding tank with pizza,” Burn seeks to help kids become leaders and influencers of their generation. When this began our “youth group” had 12 kids. By the second semester of the school year, the numbers had swollen to 100. Many of these kids are unchurched.

In March Jeremy preached a series on commitment called “Real vs Fake.”

Do you affirm your faith in Jesus Christ?

One evening 16 of these kids decided to become Christians. The next week there were four more.

That’s when Jeremy came to ask me about baptism. These kids needed to baptized and he already knew that it would be a powerful opportunity for those kids to witness to their newfound faith.

My church has a beautiful 150 year old marble baptistery in the sanctuary. We began to plan to secure it on a Wednesday (that’s when the Burn worship gathering occurs) to conduct the service.

The next day Jeremy came to see me again. “Do the baptisms have to be in the church?” “no,” was my response.

“Well these kids want to use the occasion to tell their stories to their friends, many of whom are not yet Christians. Those kids won’t come to the church.”

One of our original kids

What was then created was a Saturday Night Beach Party the night before Palm Sunday at the nearby rec center and its pool. And that night with 75 kids in attendance and about a dozen of our elders and youth leaders (and a few unchurched parents), 12 kids shared their personal testimonies and Jeremy and I baptized them. It was one of the most moving worship experiences in the history of our 177 year old congregation. (It was also the first time I ever had a baptism with a life guard on duty.)

Easter morning we showed the pictures as our call to worship with the simple announcement “This is what we are all about as a church.”

An encouragement hug for a new believer

One of the new kids already in our church family

A new disciple of Jesus Christ