Disciple Making and Children #1

Around 80% of the children who are raised in an evangelical church will leave Christianity at college [1].  If the number were 50% we should be concerned, but at 80% alarmed. Yet churches seem to be more concern about their numerical growth than they do about losing their own kids.  Churches spend thousands of dollars on church growth conferences, consultants, and materials searching for the key to their expansion, while spending comparatively few resources to help parents with their marriages or on how to disciple their children.

In many cases if a married couple volunteers for ministry in their church, they will be required to have some type of training and be under the apprenticeship of an experienced leader for a period of time.  But when a couple announces to that same church that they are expecting their first child they will given little or no training on how to raise that child.

There is something inconsistent about strategizing on how to reach our community and the world when we are unable to reach our own children.

[1] Glen Schultz, Kingdom Education; 2002 Southern Baptist Council on the Family.


2 thoughts on “Disciple Making and Children #1

  1. Thanks for calling our attention to this issue Lewie! I’m also concerned that we have made a mistake in how we approach children and youth ministries. Instead, who is discipling the men to be able to disciple their families? Who is equipping couples to lead godly marriages? Who is practically helping parents to train and raise their children in God’s love? Those need to be our priorities, not the other way around. But our churches provide children and youth ministries so that they can be baby sat while the adults socialize with their friends. Right? The adults shop around for the most fun and engaging programs for their kids so that they will at least be entertained while they get some down time. This feeds into a consumeristic church.

    I’m not against children and teen programs but where does that fit in the overall discipling of couples and parents? Our society says that the schools teach the children and the church gives them morality. That lets the parents off the hook to just drop them off at school or church and they can focus on their careers. Parents need to take the lead in the overall education and spiritual development of their children and the best people to equip them to do that should be the pastors and teachers of the church!

    Thanks for highlighting this topic. Keep it up!

  2. Hi, Lewie, I came across your website several days ago when someone sent me a link to someone else’s blog which had a link to yours. I haven’t had a chance to read all your entries, however, I am encouraged with what I’ve read thus far. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. By the way, I’m glad you don’t blog everyday; I don’t think I could keep up or catch up. :o)

    As it relates to the current topic here, I’ve been somewhat burdened for a while as well with our current church programs relating to children’s ministries. As it relates to parents taking their children to children and youth ministries at church for someone else to minister to them, I’ve always wondered if it wouldn’t be better to get the parents of those children involved in the actual ministry with/training of their children. Perhaps two things could be accomplished: 1) the parents could learn from a pastoral staff member how to minister spiritually (train) their children, and 2) the parent would actually be discipling their own child. I know sometimes parents get involved, but for the most part, it seems only the youth minister or S.S. teacher is doing the teaching/training rather than the parent. I know a few parents sometimes accompany a church youth group on their mission endeavors/outings, but I think it would be great if they were involved at least on a weekly basis in some fashion, if not learning how to be involved “spiritually” training their children on a daily basis. I don’t think there’s anything better than a child being taught the Word by his/her own parent, or having the Word read to them by his/her own parent. I know some parents don’t feel “qualified” to teach/train their own child in spiritual things, but the simple act of just spending time with them reading the Word speaks volumes even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.

    Just a few thoughts. Thanks again for sharing yours.

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