The church leaders who are seemingly most concerned about the dropout rate of that demographic are the very ones who create the weekend experiences that this demographic finds entirely uncompelling. To say it another way, the group responsible for connecting eighteen- to twenty-five-year-olds to local congregations are the catalysts for driving them away.
. . . somebody’s kids are attending your church. If you have kids, they are attending your church. Every Sunday you are either instilling a deeper love and appreciation for the church or you are doing what most pastors do and providing them with one more reason not to attend when they no longer have to. That’s a big deal.
Andy Stanley, Deep & Wide
That is a big deal. According to Thom Rainer in a research project initiated by Lifeway, the number of kids walking away from faith and the church outnumber the adults who are coming to faith each year. I think it is because we have missed an opportunity. We have treated the youngest ones as though they are not important until they become adults. Then we follow that up by doing church the way we like it rather than the way we can reach the next generation.
God intends that we should win people in the days of their youth while their hearts are young and sensitive. But we are apt to let the springtime pass and then with great effort create a religious fervor by our own efforts and win men to Christ. We work hard, spend thousands of dollars and at the best get disappointingly small returns. We have waited too long. That which we should do is to work with God in His seasons.
If we save every adult on the planet, but lose the next generation, what’s the point? The church is always one generation away from extinction. Not on my watch!