Paul said to Timothy, “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:20, 21, KJV. When we consider those who have erred or have “gone astray from the faith”, I dare you to look to the right of your pew and look to the left. Look at the children and the teens around you. Now, imagine that 2/3rds of them just disappeared. What has happened? What happens to youth who regularly attend church services and activities, which speak to others about their faith, who are involved in the youth group and who are part of Christian schools? We would like to think that this involvement would ensure that they are faithful into adulthood. But, we may be mistaken.
Consider that 61% of adults, who were once involved in such things are spiritually disengaged. More and more are we ﬁnding abandoned church buildings or congregations with hardly any youth. And, while we live in the greatest Christian minded nation on earth, still the church, in some areas, seem to be headed toward the morgue. Why is it that children ﬁnd services boring, legalistic, hypocritical and ﬁnd God as one who would not condemn one to hell? Some youth state they just “need a break from church.” Others make excuses that they don’t feel very good or that they want to be someplace else. But, these are superﬁcial answers. Why is it that 95% of youth in the church attend regularly during elementary and middle school, but, by the time they go to college, that number drops from 95% to around 11%? What has changed?
Now, parents may pay big bucks to send their children to Christian college, hoping to protect their faith. Yet, many of those youth are already disengaged in the pew. But, why? Could it be that we need to consider Deut. 6:6-7:“these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Programs may be entertaining, youth groups are wonderful, church activities are great and Christians schools can play an important part in the lives of Children. But, none of these come close as the time when families sit down together and study from the Scriptures. Christians are to place God’s words in our hearts. They are to be preeminent in our lives. God’s words are to be cherished in the heart and we are to be wholeheartedly committed to them. Thus, the Christian is to diligently teach these words to his children. This is an absolute necessity. Yet, education of the Scriptures is not just teaching facts and principles, like passing on information. Teaching is experiencing the truth personally and living out the truth before children. It is living the commandments of God before their eyes and making truth a part of every aspect of our lives. This is why Moses said that the believer was to constantly talk about the words of God at home, when walking along the road, when lying down and when getting up. The whole thrust is that he was to live by God’s words, experience them, obey them and set the example before children.
Perhaps, if we spend much more time in the Bible with our children and grandchildren, we can lower the 2/3rd’s of youth that are lost and disengaged from Christianity.