Will Your Child Leave Christianity

Will Your Child Leave Christianity?

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Christian Answers, Christian Apologetics, Christian Revival, Youth Apologetics

Will Your Child Leave Christianity?

A Strategy to Solidify Their Faith

By Brace E. Barber
July 19, 2016
Christian Apologetics Speaker

 

The first Thanksgiving back home after leaving for college is really a special time. It rarely makes the front pages of life events, but when a young adult heads away from home to college, it is often the first time back home after being away. Mine was really a once-in-a-lifetime event. I left El Cajon, California outside of San Diego, on my way to the complete opposite corner of America at West Point, New York. As it happened, the Army-Navy Game was being played in Pasadena, California that year. It was the first and last time that the game was played there, and it required a huge movement of troops all the way across the country. For me, it meant that the Army was going to deliver me home for Thanksgiving.

I’m Not a Christian Anymore

Though most coming-home-for-Thanksgiving trips are less involved, they are still a wonderful time to be together. The family gets a chance to spend time with their child learning about their experiences and plans for the future. Parents want to know who their child is becoming on their own. It may not be during Thanksgiving, but it is during this separation process that kids reveal to their parents that they are no longer Christians. Sixty-five to 75% of kids raised in Christian homes leave the faith when they leave home. If you have three kids, pick the two that you are willing to give up for eternity. When your child tells you that they are no longer a Christian, it’s too late. The 18 years you had with them is over. The years that they spent in Sunday school are gone. You will never again have that level of involvement and authority to speak into their lives.

I Haven’t Been a Christian for a Long Time

Research tells us that most who leave are already mentally gone sometime in high school. What that means is that if you have a child in high school they have probably already closed their mind to Christianity, but are just waiting until they are out from underneath your roof before they say something. If you have a middle-schooler, they are headed that way too. Right when your newly independent, mature, intellectual child informs you that they are no longer a Christian it is not the most strategic time to begin pleading with them and pulling out all the stops to save them. Is it hopeless? No. However, on Monday when they drive back to school, they are under the influence of the world where you hold no credibility. Your influence over them will diminish as they become ‘smarter’ and you hold onto your ‘illogical’ faith. Getting those kids back to the faith is a different issue than what we are dealing with in youth groups.

The Good News

The good news is that if they are still in your home, you have time. If you use that time dealing with their skepticisms head on, you will eliminate the reasons that they were using to justify leaving the faith. The promise of this approach is that you will strengthen your child’s faith in God and create a closer relationship with each other. The issue of Salvation is so important that it is not something to put off until tomorrow. The challenge for parents has always been how to ensure your child is saved and that you will eventually spend eternity with them. There is no exact answer for success because every person’s path to a decision for Christ is different and they make that decision based on an incredible number of circumstances.

Here’s what we do know from the research contained in the book, The Last Christian Generation by Josh McDowell and David H. Bellis:

  • 63% of teenaged Christians don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of the one true God.
  • 51% don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead.
  • 68% don’t believe that the Holy Spirit is a real entity.
  • Only 33% of churched youth have said that the church will play a part in their lives when they leave home.

Now We Can Solve the Problem

At a very high level, if we realize that we need to address our kids’ skepticism head on, then this list is a great place to start. Can you write down three pieces of evidence for each of the problems above? If not it’s time to start studying. You are running out of time! Furthermore, you have to realize that TELLING these kids that Jesus is the Son of the one true God, that he rose again and that the Holy Spirit is real is NOT going to work. How many times have you and the church already told them these things? The question you need to answer with them is, “Why should I believe that Jesus rose from dead?” If the thoughts you are having right now revolve around the impossibility of that task, then take a breath and listen. The evidence for Jesus Resurrection is incredibly strong and multi-faceted. When you take the time to look at it, you will be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt. Evidence can’t replace faith, but when you are satisfied that Jesus rose from the dead just as the Scriptures say, how much more confident are you in your faith. Now think about your kids.

Christian Apologetics

It’s time to get excited because the chance of your child leaving the faith has just dropped dramatically. However, you need to understand that the area of study you are going into, Christian Apologetics, is not widely practiced by most churches. Your church will certainly know about apologetics and they can recommend some books and maybe even a member who likes apologetics, but for the most part, it is an afterthought. Apologetics have mostly been an individual pursuit and sometimes the subject of a bible study. Apologetics, in common Christian terms, is simply the defense of the faith. It is an area of study that is incredibly powerful in improving the chances that your child will gain a faith of their own. It is not a cure-all, but it can help a lot.

The reason that churches shy away from apologetics is because it is predominantly academic and appeals to so few people. I may be one of three people at my church who would be thrilled to hear a sermon on the scientific evidence supporting the creation of the Universe. Everyone else would have to get up to go to the bathroom sometime during the lecture and wouldn’t come back. The academic nature of the field of study makes it less appealing than reading and contemplating the Bible or listening to a sermon, but it that aspect which also makes it so powerful. I am in the business of solving the problem of the loss of kids from the Christian Church so when I choose my tools I don’t choose based on the easiest to carry or the most stylish, I pick them based on what works the best. The apologetics tool may be a bit heavier, but it works – and it is fascinating.

The Glorious Process

In the process of learning the evidence supporting the Christian claims, apologetics will take you through scientific and historic subjects and engage you in philosophical logic. You will begin to connect the dots between what you see in the world around you and the mighty power of our God. You will be able to walk your children along the same path, which leads to making a real decision for Christ. The evidence reduces the gap between skepticism and faith. The bridge that they have to build from what they know to what we tell them is necessary for faith in the Christian worldview becomes shorter and shorter as they learn.

If I Don’t Know the Answers

Perhaps this article is finding you at the place I was when I was first convicted to begin my study. I engaged in the study of apologetics because I couldn’t answer the questions that I knew the world was going to throw at my children. And if I couldn’t answer those questions, then I knew my kids couldn’t answer those questions. And if my kids could not answer those questions then they were at risk of leaving the faith. Chances are your kids don’t know the following.

  • They don’t know why evil exists in this world how a loving and merciful God could allow suffering.
  • They don’t understand that there is no evidence for the theory of evolution in spite of it being taught as a fact in school.
  • They don’t know that there is great evidence that the Bible is the accurate eye-witness accounts of the events, and that it hasn’t changed since it was written.
  • They don’t know that the Universe, according to overwhelming scientific evidence had a beginning, and that a beginning demands a beginner, a Creator, a Cause.
  • Your kids don’t understand that it is possible to show beyond a reasonable doubt that Christ rose from the grave and appeared to the disciples and over 500 other witnesses.

Their Intellect Demands Answers

Your kids are going into high school without the answers that they need. They are going into the world without the answers to the questions that they need. Their intellect demands these answers, and they want them answered even though they don’t ask you. There is no time like today to begin your incredible journey into learning about the evidence for the Christian faith. Though the area requires study, is your child’s salvation worth overcoming any hesitancy about the work ahead? Your child is waiting to be saved.


Practical Help

Stay Tuned: I am in the process of completing two books due out in 2016 to address this problem. Sign up for my email updates to be the first to learn when they are released. Christian Apologetics Solution

  • The first book will lay out the practical how-to steps for keeping Christian kids Christian for Churches and parents.
  • The second book is a book covering 14 apologetic subjects with tools to make it as easy as possible for anyone to teach and learn.

Brace E. Barber is a Christian Apologetics Speaker focusing on teaching Churches how to immediately stop the loss of Christian kids from the Faith. See more at Christian Apologetics Speaker

 

Christian Apologetics Speaker

Poorly Painted Christians

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Christian Answers, Christian Apologetics, Christian Revival, Christianity, Youth Apologetics

Poorly Painted Christians
By Brace E. Barber
July 15, 2016

Christian Apologetics Speaker

Bringing our youth up in the Church is much like painting a wall. We apply layer after layer of beautiful Christian-theology paint onto the plain wall of our youth groups every week. We do big roller strokes on the younger ones and carefully applied edging to the older kids ready for more precise knowledge. As they grow, we admire the rich colors that are developing and attempt to cover some of the lighter areas with more coats. It is a lot of work conducted by countless teachers and lead by Pastors following the latest philosophies of becoming relevant to the new generation. And after 18 years of painting, we send the kids into the world. Unfortunately, when we look at that wall of youth-group kids within in one year of graduating high school, 75% of the paint has peeled off. The wall is a mostly bare, splotchy, peeling mess. Only a few small areas have the deep color we applied, while the few other places where color still exists, it’s faded or discolored. What in the world is happening?

Know it All

The resistance to theological paint starts young. This is easy to test. How much do you pay attention to the road or directions when you are the passenger in a car? We tend to zone out or pay attention to other things when we aren’t responsible for getting our passengers to the destination, and we are especially prone to wandering thoughts when we believe we know where we are going. The next time you are teaching Sunday school or just talking to your middle-school kids, ask them if they know the story of Adam and Eve. What about telling a high-schooler that you are going to cover the story of Noah’s Ark. The sighs and rolling of the eyes will tell you all that you need to know. These kids have heard these stories 1,000 times before. They think that they know where you are going, and so they tune out. Eyes wide open, heads nodding, tuned out.

As you are uncovering deeper lessons in the well-worn bible stories, the kids are in the passenger seat not paying attention. You discuss the nuance of Satan’s deception of Eve and how that relates to how Satan tempts each of us, and your students are still hearing the story they heard in elementary school: Adam – Eve – Apple – Sin – Bad. This is the first step in a damaging set of circumstances that is keeping our kids from fully embracing the word of God. You discuss the faith of David or Abraham and the kids picture Goliath and a burning bush. They are not picking up on the deeper theological points or life-application importance of the examples. Don’t get me wrong, we as painters are doing our best to paint that wall, and we are clever in how we use music and video and practical exercises, but because they believe that they already know it all, most of it drips to the floor.

Deeper Lessons Lost

The lessons we give to kids as they get older are perfectly reasonable lessons with additional facts and nuances appropriate for their increasing maturity. However, because they have already tuned out they are not getting the lessons. Then, as we layer different social guidelines on top of a child-level theology, kids have a hard time understanding. They are not reconciling their childish understanding of Adam and Eve and sin, and God’s judgment, and Jesus sacrifice with why they should think one way or another about homosexuality, pornography and monogamy. It is very sad to say, and I have tested this multiple times with older kids, that there is even a lack of understanding of what it means to be a Christian.

Christian?

Kids do not know the basic Christian standard for being a Christian. They do not understand, and they cannot summarize the key points of Christ’s sacrifice, what it means, or how we should respond to it. This premise is also easy to test. With your own kids or on Sunday morning when you speak to your youth group have each kid write down what they believe it means to be a Christian. We joke about getting the church answer to our questions while in church, but you will be surprised at how many kids answer, “I believe in God.” We spend all of our time painting, and we stand back to discover that we didn’t paint the center of the wall very well. Though we’ve tried, we are failing to secure the hearts of our kids.

Weak Foundation

This gap in the knowledge of the foundation of Christian theology starts at the youngest ages. As the kids grow older, they presume they have heard it all, and they also begin to engage their intellect and their critical thinking skills. Unfortunately, that aspect of their God-given being is not addressed in youth groups consistently. We don’t give them answers to their questions about the reliability of Scripture, why evil exists, could Jesus really have risen from the dead, and was there really a worldwide flood. The world is challenging them with tons of other questions that revolve around the truth of Christianity. The compounding of the problem means that they don’t understand theology and their intellect starts to tell them that it isn’t true anyway, so they don’t need to learn it. They are left without a foundation of both the heart and the head.

The Mild 25%

I am making a broad generalization, because certainly there are kids who get it. There are kids who have a genuine relationship with Christ, who govern their actions and their thoughts around scripture, and who are truly seeking spiritual growth. The problem is that as a Christian church we are losing 75% of kids raised in the church. After high school they no longer practice Christianity. As we look at our wall, it is critical to understand that the 25% that are left are Christians, but often without a strong enough to project that faith into the world. What intellectual underpinnings and what deep theological understandings do they have of our scripture and of our worldview unless they sought the information and retained it on their own? The 25% that is left, though they are strong Christians, are not as effective as they could be as they leave high school and venture into the world.

Christian Revival is Around the Corner

In strategy development and planning identifying the obstacles to reaching your objective is critically important. This identification of the obstacles isn’t a courteous massaging of the information until you kinda’ know what stands in your way, it is a brutal ripping away of assumptions and predispositions until you are left with the facts. In analyzing the problem of the exodus of Christian Kids from the Faith, I can tell you that we can reach our objective of Revival. Christian Revival through this group of kids is possible and likely when we answer their intellect in a way that encourages them to get back into the theology. See Apologetics: The Path to Christian Revival. When we begin to answer the tough questions that the world is throwing our way, it is like adding primer to the wall. We are properly preparing the surface to receive the beautiful coats of paint that God has provided us. Our approach to raising up kids in the Lord has to change to acknowledge the real obstacles and challenges that they are facing. As adults we have come through that battlefield in one way or another and now we need to help our children do the same.


Practical Help

Stay Tuned: I am in the process of completing two books due out in 2016 to address this problem. Sign up for my email updates to be the first to learn when they are released. Christian Apologetics Solution

  • The first book will lay out the practical how-to steps for keeping Christian kids Christian for Churches and parents.
  • The second book is a book covering 14 apologetic subjects with tools to make it as easy as possible for anyone to teach and learn.

Brace E. Barber is a Christian Apologetics Speaker focusing on teaching Churches how to immediately stop the loss of Christian kids from the Faith. See more at Christian Apologetics Speaker