Larry preached a message on Sunday about parenting as a part of our February family series, and he shared a mind-blowing statistic with our church. I want to share it with everyone I can, particularly other pastors because their people need to know this information.
This particular statistic that Larry shared came from the resource, "Preaching Today", and a message called "Introducing Your Child to Christ."
An elder statesman of the Christian church devoted himself to a fifty-year study of Christian and non-Christian families. He says that in American culture today, most young adults following Jesus Christ either come from non-Christian homes where they were converted to Christ in their teenage years through a dynamic youth ministry, or they come from homes where they grew up in love with Jesus because Mom and Dad were so radically in love with Jesus. These "radically in love with Jesus" families were extremely involved in the Kingdom of God on a consistent basis and not casual at all in their relationship with God or their church attendance and involvements. The researcher found that very, very few Christians come from homes where there was a kind of indifferent, apathetic commitment to Christ or His church.
This means that those parents who are casual in their commitment to Christ and not really involved in the church are in great danger when it comes to their kids serving God when they become adults. This means with a few exceptions, the kids raised by those who are casual church attenders (on the fringe) will more than likely fall away. In this case it's definitely not "a little dab'll do ya". Statistics show that the chances are better for your child follow Christ as adults if they were raised by complete unbelievers than to be raised by those who are apathetic or not very involved. That's pretty eye opening! I think part of the reason is because kids are so attuned to what their parents do and even Jesus said it's better to be hot or cold than lukewarm. Apparently most kids who have lukewarm parents end up spitting out Christianity and leaving it once they are adults. I guess we should not be shocked, however seeing it proven in a 50 year study was extremely sobering to me.
I am not sure where this statistic came from but there was also one about parents "dropping off" kids for church and it was said that the kids return rate as adults was not very high on that either because of obvious reasons. (Example is everything.)
I'm sure many might say, "well, God can do miracles." Some people may believe they can be a fringer and their kids will turn out okay because the Lord will step in and do a miracle at some point. Well, yes, He can and He does at times. But are you willing to take that chance when heaven and hell is at stake? God uses us in cooperation with His plan. And despite many miracles that God has done, it appears statistics tell us millions of kids -- the majority - who are raised like this are falling away.
Larry recently heard another statistic -- that 80% of kids in the church are falling away from God once they turn 18 and leave home. He says he personally thinks this statistic corresponds with the old one that says that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. He thinks the 20% that are staying with Christianity after turning 18 are most often your kids whose parents were the 20% doing the work of the Lord and setting the proper example.
These statistics and research results should concern the beegeebies out of those on the fringe.