Growing Up in Church and Then Walking Away

I grew up in church. We attended 3-4 times a week. Sunday morning. Sunday night. Wednesday night. Friday night youth activities.

And yes, as a kid, there were times that I didn’t want to be at church. Especially Sunday nights. Sunday nights were when the “Wonderful World of Disney” came on television…right in the middle of the 6 p.m. service. There was no on demand television back then. You simply had to miss the show if you went to church.
Then there was the Sunday night when my beloved Dallas Cowboys were playing in the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos. I was desperate to not miss the game, so I got “sick” that afternoon and was able to stay home and watch the game.
In spite of missing Disney shows due to being at church, I grew up to love Jesus and His church. In fact, for over 33 years, I have served full-time in children’s and family ministry. During this time, I have watched kids grow up in church and continue to love and serve Jesus as adults. I have also seen kids grow up in church and then walk away as soon as they had the freedom to do so.
I have spent a lot of time pondering this. I have studied the statistics and research. I have talked with pastors and other church leaders. I have watched kids grow up in real time. As I have been going through this process, some big questions came to the forefront.

What causes some kids to grow up and continue to follow Jesus for a lifetime, while others do not?

What influences are in the mix?

What home situations did the kids grow up in?

How big of a part do parents play in kids and students following Jesus for a lifetime?

The pursuit for the answers to these questions took me to the greatest parenting and discipleship resource ever - God’s Word. As I searched God’s Word, the Holy Spirit led me to a passage that would give me the answers I had been looking for. 
 Around the same time I was studying this passage of Scripture, a report surfaced that revealed the top reasons why kids grow up and walk away from the church and even the faith. As I put the Bible passage and the research stats side-by-side, it was startling. The reasons kids have abandoned the church and the faith are the same reasons that the Bible says people will walk away.
In my newest book, I share the reasons why kids walk away from the faith and how this can be prevented. I believe if we will share and live this out with the kids in our lives, we can see many more fall in love with Jesus for a lifetime. 
We are in a war for the heart, mind and soul of the next generation. We must share the truth of God’s Word with them and model what it means to live that out. 
“Do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Deuteronomy 4:9
We must help the next generation truly know Jesus and fall deeply in love with Him and His church. We must equip the next generation to make wise decisions as they navigate a post-Christian culture. 
As I share some of the reasons why kids have grown up in church and then walked away, it may be overwhelming. But don’t worry, we can prevent this from happening as we apply God’s Word to our situations and context.

This is an excerpt from my newest book "Fertile Soil...How to See Kids' Faith Grow and Flourish for a Lifetime.  You can get your copy today at this link.