Tuesday, August 23, 2011

10 easy ways to make sure
your kids won't be Christians when they grow up

Want your kid to walk away from God?  Here's a sure-fire formula, my friends.  Follow this easy-to-use guide to turn them away from God  and the church.  These are very easy things to do, in fact thousands are doing it with great results and their kids are turning away in droves.  It will work for you too!!    

1)  Be a totally different person at home than you are at church.

2)  Switch churches.  Don't stay in one place too terribly long.  Keep 'em hopping.  The more churches you can expose your kids to without putting down roots, the better.  The second you're unhappy with something, uproot as soon as possible and head out to church shop again.  Tell them this is for their own good.

3)   Don't bother with sending them to kids and youth camp.  It can get expensive especially if you have several kids.  Think practically.  You need the money to pay on other things and besides kids aren't going to die if they don't go to camp.  Save that camp and youth convention money and put it towards getting your debt paid off, or toward their extra curricular activities for school.  That's much more practical anyway as they can get scholarships for that stuff.   Now, that's Godly wisdom right there...

4)  Don't worry too much about getting in the routine of going to church on Sunday.   Kids need sleep and after all, so do you.  You've been working hard all week and you deserve it.   If they want to stay home, let them. After all some people are forced to do stuff as kids and it turns them off.  Let the kids make their own decision if it comes down to it.  They might get mad at you anyway if forced to go and you don't want it to come to that.

5)  Make being involved in the youth group an option, not an essential.  How much church does any one person need anyway?  I mean, let's not get legalistic here...

6)  Talk at home about all the things you don't like about the pastor.

7)  Hang out with friends from the church outside of the services and talk about things you're unhappy with about the church.

8)  Be on the rebellious end of a church split and take your kids out of the church to go be a part of the split.  

9)  Make church all about YOU - what you want, what makes you happy, what God and the church are going to do for YOU instead of what you're going to give and how you're going to serve.  In fact, this works much better if you don't serve at all in your church. Let the kids hear you say that it's not your season.  This works really well.  You might even want to blame it on them... after all that makes you look like Super Mom or Super Dad, right? 

10) Talk to your kids about stuff like purity, but don't bother to live by the same standards yourself, especially if you're a single parent.  After all, you're an adult with normal needs and desires that are just begging to be met.  God understands, right?  And your kids will too if you just say stuff like, "you know kids, I tell YOU not to do these things because you're just not at the age of maturity to handle something like that in  your relationships, but me on the other hand, I'm in my 40's,  and it's different.  Do as I say, not as I do.  I have needs and God's okay with that, because He made me that way... and when you're older you'll understand..." 

This works like a charm.  If you do all these 10 things faithfully, you're well on your way to your kids never serving God again. 

13 comments:

Barbie S. said...

I agree with this, all but # 3 and #5. For these reasons.

#3, I've been to youth camp and honestly, I was unimpressed. What I witnessed was little more (if more at all) than entertainment. It looked like a secular concert. I would not send my kids there. I see no point in it. It was rowdy and obnoxious and there is a BIG difference between dancing and worshiping in the Spirit and what I witnessed. I think as parents we need to be very diligent about our child's purity and just because an event has a "christian" stamp on it, doesn't mean it is really going to be beneficial in the discipleship of our children.

#5, I am not sold on the idea of Youth Group either. I know it is the popular thing, but the statistics I read show that 80% of kids coming out of youth group, do not attend church once they don't have to. If those statistics are accurate, then I would say there is a problem. My kids are too young for youth Group right now and I honestly don't know if I will allow them to attend when they are 'of age'. I don't want my kids hanging out with their friends at church. I sit in the front at church so I don't look around often, but upon occasion I do and there is a definite lack of participation in the praise and worship by kids and youth. Why is that? Should they only get excited if the music is geared towards youth? To me, that is not teaching them to worship in Spirit and in truth.

So, I am on this journey right now with regard to kids and youth ministry. Really seeking the heart of God and what is best for discipling and bringing children up in the love and admonition of the Lord. I don't want my kids to go down a road that goes from youth ministry to student ministry to young adult ministry and never integrating into the church as a family. And I do see that. Right now, my daughter will walk around and she feels comfortable striking up a conversation with any adult in the church. I don't see that with most kids. They hang out with other kids only.

I'm not passing condemnation, just sharing some thoughts that your BLOG inspired and after all, isn't that what a BLOG is for?

Deanna Shrodes said...

Sure you're welcome to share your thoughts here, that's what the comment section is for.

As you can imagine, I do respectfully disagree. It seems you and I may be polar opposites regarding what we believe about children’s and youth ministry and that’s fine, to each his own. We all have to prayerfully make our own decisions regarding this aspect of our children’s lives.

My views are based on not only raising 2 kids to adulthood who are now serving God, both serving in ministries and the eldest now as a youth minister, but also what has happened to other families I have either pastored or observed for 25 years.

I have not heard the statistic that kids who attend youth group are not attending church once they don’t have to. What I have heard is that that 7--80% of kids do not attend church in general once graduating high school. In my experience, youth group attendance has helped, not hurt. However, I believe kids falling away would have more to do with the other factors listed, or the specific church their parents selected to attend, versus the fact that they attended youth group or not.

One of my personal core values is that I would never be a part of a church where I couldn’t wholeheartedly endorse the children’s and youth ministries. And as a pastor it’s one of my top priorities to make sure those ministries are strong. I believe that my kids need more than me. Yes, I’m their primary influence – that is what parents are designed to be. But we aren’t the only influence and for some that think they can be, in my opinion that is naivety. Kids have influences whether they hang out with other kids or not. They need other leaders as well as peers to influence their lives for the cause of Christ. Fellowship is an important part of a church for both adults and teens. If I did not want my kids to hang out with their friends at church, I would see that as a significant problem. I would be taking steps to remedy that.

I believe church should be a place a God's power, presence and purpose, and I also believe it should be the most fun place around -- a place kids and teens can't wait to get to. I do believe multi-generational worship (everyone together) is important and in our church certainly we have times for that. But I think strategic ministry to children and adults in their peer group is very impacting as well. I don't want my kids to miss out on that. All three of them have always been able to talk to adults and get along well with all generations but their peer group has been important too.

As far as camp goes, it would be subjective as far as what particular camp your children or teens are attending. I do know that 80% of our Assemblies of God pastors and missionaries say they received a call to full time ministry at an AG childrens or youth camp. 80% of them claim to have experienced a significant life change there. My children have been a part of AG camps all their lives and have never missed. I don’t regret it and if you do a search in the “search” box of the blog at the bottom right and put in “camp” some posts should come up as to exactly why.

Camp isn’t just about spiritual times around the altar. It gets rowdy, it’s gets crazy and in my opinion it should. Serving God isn’t all about seriousness. I hope my children will remember some things at church and camp being the most crazy, fun, amazing experiences of their life, not just while dancing in the spirit or worshipping, but just doing life together and having a blast.

For me personally, I could not commit to a church overall that didn't have fun AND spiritually life changing programs for kids/teens, in addition to family & multi-generational worship opportunities. But like I said, to each his own...

Barbie S. said...

I have more to say, but just quickly I want to make two distinctions.

I am not blaming youth group for kids choosing not to attend church, but rather implying that it may not be making much of an impact at all into their Spiritual lives. And if that is the case...what is the point?

2nd, My comment that I don't want my kids 'hanging out with their friends' at church. I wasn't saying I don't want them there at church or that I don't want them fellowshipping with their friends, but rather I don't want them standing around with ONLY their friends and not engaging with other people and in the services.

I do have more on my heart, but not the time to type it right now. But I wanted to clarify those 2 points. Thanks.

Deanna Shrodes said...

Thanks for clarifying it. I understand.

I believe church in general doesn't make a big impact on kids lives UNLESS IT'S THE RIGHT CHURCH ENVIRONMENT. (Not implying that is only AG of course! I am speaking of a strong church that is ALIVE, and HEALTHY and also has good stuff for kids/teens.) I believe the overall CHURCH HEALTH is the most important and if that's not there, that's a problem.

For more info about one reason I feel the way I do about camp, go here when you have time:

http://www.deannashrodes.com/2008/02/why-every-parent-should-send-their.html

Blessings

Miss Mollie said...

I agree with you, Deanna, but Barbie has some points. I think the main point is parents need to be involved with the kids and not expect the church to do it all, which I do see at times. And the main thing is how parents act at home, at work and as you said with their friends from church outside of church (ouch!). No roast pastor for Sunday dinner, please. Or any other time.
A story I heard a long time ago: A father told his son as he went off to college to not lose faith in the Bible. Believe in the stories, like Jonah. The son after 4 years at college, did walk away from his faith. The father asked him why.
"Well, Dad, you said not to discard the stories of the Bible. I tore out Jonah from your Bible and you never noticed."
Now I just heard yesterday that the statistics for college students returning to their faith when they are in their late 20's has decreased to 20%. Obviously, something is not being done right. You have a good word. We need to live this life for Jesus. Follow hard after Him.
I pray hardest for college students and probably cry the most for kids that were in Sunday School every Sun., youth group, Bible Quiz, have godly parents, yet, they have strayed far. What can we do? Reach out to them in any way we can and always, always pray. Let them know we love them and invite them back to church when we can. I love these kids and as I said my heart breaks when I realize they're only 22 and divorced. Or they have had children out of wedlock. Or they have become atheists. I hold on to Proverbs Raise up a child in a way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.
My brother is 60 and still has not returned to the way we were raised. But hope springs eternal and I believe the promises made over him will come to fruit.
People admire my children, but I battle pride. It is not me, it is the Father above answering my prayers. Francis Chan said he prays for the Holy Spirit to lead his children after a certain age. I do, too. I also pray they get into trouble as soon as they do wrong, so they won't think they can get away with things.
Well, I talked too long. We must remember God has given us free will and our children need also to find their own faith at some time. I pray they remain true to Jesus from the time they have asked Him into their hearts, but Jesus loves them more than I and He also is praying for them.
Thank you. Maybe I should use this for my blog today!

leannesmusings said...

As a former children's pastor, I agree 100% that parents are the #1 spiritual influence in a child's life. It is impossible, in an hour and a half once a week, to build a spiritual foundation in a child's/teenager's life - so don't even ask your church's children's or youth leaders to do this. It is an impossible task. That being said...I do want to address the idea of "entertainment." I speak mostly from the perspective of kids' ministry, having never really been involved in youth ministry [other than as a teenager!]. In my kids' church, we held an entire service, complete with worship, offering, a message, etc. Our commitment to the kids and the families was that our games would not be just "random," but would somehow point to the lesson. It helps it to stick. Many adults would stop by, poke their head in for five minutes, and assume that we were just having wild and crazy game time. Those who stayed for the entire service would see that it all worked together toward teaching an important Biblical concept. If you have observed just part of a service or a camp program, please do not judge the entire thing by just a piece. It really all makes sense within the grand scheme of things!! I attended a camp as a child/teenager, and about 10-15 years later, when I went back to that same place as a counselor, I walked into the worship center and was hit with an overwhelming remembrance of all the times God had met me there. I could point at the exact spot on the stage where I was filled with the Holy Spirit at age nine. In the first five minutes I was in there, God brought to remembrance all the amazing moments I had had with him. Life-altering moments. And I had actually just walked into the building to use the restroom ;o). Was there entertainment? Fun and games? Yes! I can recall gross, disgusting things that somehow simmered in the minds of the youth pastors in charge of recreation. I remember silly moments like my best friend accidentally (?) bumping my hair with an ice cream cone, and not being able to shower until the next day. But most of all, I remember God meeting me there. I grew up in a low-income, single parent family. But my mom made camp and youth convention a priority for us every year, and I will forever be thankful for it!!!!

Barbie S. said...

Thanks Leanne & Mollie. Parents are the number one factor and greatest influence in a child's life. That I think we've all agreed upon.
I have worked with many age groups and know all too well how some parents do believe the brief exposure every week to be the only discipleship their children need and somehow expect it to be enough. But it simply isn't.
I am thankful for your testimony Leanne, because honestly, I can't think of any other testimony I've heard from youth camp about anything other than the fun. Or it would be something like we did this and that and the other...and oh yeah, worship was awesome. (or whatever term they used) like an afterthought. I just have a passion to see people, of any age encounter the Living God and be changed. And not only the emotional moments, but the quiet ones. I think, no I know our culture is turning away from traditions of our ancestors and the wholesome morals that I was brought up with. And unfortunately, I think it is affecting the church as well. I see the world creeping in to the church, and I mean the Body of Christ, not any particular building or denomination. ( I too am AG Deanna) Holiness is important. Reverence is important. And we are called out to be sanctified, holy and set apart. I teach kids and I use games and crafts and activities that enforce the lesson we're learning. Sometimes the games are just for fun to take a break. But every class I teach the kid CAN walk away having learned something about the Lord. Some truth about how God wants to know us, love us...wants us to live etc. What is the point otherwise?
Age segregated ministry is a modern practice and I just question whether or not it is effective. The evidence to me seems overwhelming that it isn't. So, as I stated above, I am on this journey with God and trying to understand how to best disciple and parent my children and I am getting lots of data. I've been looking into Family Integrated Churches, which have no youth or children's ministries and keep everyone together for service and I have to say, there is a lot to be admired by what I've seen. Then you hear testimonies like Leanne's and certainly you cannot argue with the fact that God used Youth Camp to minister to her. And as Deanna pointed out, many people say they received the call into ministry while at camp.
I don't know what the answer is. Maybe it just depends on how God is calling a particular family. We aren't made from cookie cutters after all. We are all unique and have to work out our own salvation.
But, all this came from the original BLOG of 10 ways to lose your kids or whatever the title was and the point I was really hoping to make is I think there are valid reasons for a parent to keep their kids from Youth Group or Youth Camp and it doesn't have to mean that they are neglecting the spiritual needs of their kids. It could just mean that they are tentative to them and following God's plan for their family.

I thank you all for the input and am privileged to have participated in the conversation.

Miss Mollie said...

I do agree with you, Barbie. I think though we need both. When our youth group was the strongest, the kids were encouraged to go to Wed. night with the head pastor teaching. They, then had their own youth night. Now to save money we have it all on one night and I'm not seeing those same results as 10 years ago. That senior class now has a youth pastor, an Army chaplain, married couples always devoted to God. Yet, a few on FB are in the world drinking and well you know. 5 years later, that class, only a few are staying close to God. I do think the separation mentality is a factor. And of course, the kids free will.

leannesmusings said...

I would just caution those of you considering a family integrated church to remember that ultimately, it IS the choice of the kids to keep following God or not. I know adults who were part of children's/youth ministries who are not serving God today. I also know adults whose parents kept them out of "age-segregated" worship who are not serving God today. As much as you would love to, you cannot make the choice for your child to follow God. I have heard many theories on who is to blame when young adults walk away from God. I really don't think it can be narrowed down and defined. But I do think that parents who do not make church a priority in their kids' lives do contribute to it - whatever that means for your individual family. I would also encourage you to support the ministires of the church you attend. That is part of being loyal to your pastor's vision. If your values do not line up with the church's vision and you prefer for your kids to not be involved in kids'/youth ministries, then just quietly find a church that better reflects your values. Do not try to "change it from the inside." I have experienced families who tried to do just that, and it does not work - and it just leaves everyone feeling frustrated and resentful. God bless - and I am happy to be able to be a part of this discussion!!!

sandy said...

I loved the post!! I grew up in church.

My mom (single mom) had me in church whenever the church doors were open (I call it my drug days - she drug me to church). I went to the camps, the vacation bible schools, the family fun nights, the youth conferences (got kissed at one ).

The things you listed Deanna are right on time. Why? Because I couldn't imagine where I would have turned up without them. If my mom decided to take a different road with us kids we would have never gotten the Word! You see at these places, events and people involved - the Word, the same word that doesn't return void is spoken over our kids.

I ran from church as soon as I could. But I couldn't shake the Word that was ringing in my head. I can still hear the voices of the ladies who told me God had a purpose and a plan. If it weren't for being in an environment the Word was spread and nurtured I wouldn't be alive today.

Thanks for a great post Deanna!

Barbie S. said...

Leanne, I just want to make a point of saying that my Pastor has my utmost respect and loyalty and I promise he knows it and would agree. I would never undermine his vision or the ministries at church. Quite the contrary, I am active in supporting and serving in many capacities and would never initiate or participate in a division of the church.
With that said, I don’t think because you don’t see eye to eye on every ministry, that you should uproot and hightail it out. God gives different gifts, talents and passion to us all and wants to use my passion to bless my church as I serve Him.
And I’ve not said I do totally disagree with youth ministry, but rather I’m studying and asking God to lead me. My words were that I wasn’t sure if youth group would be something my kids participated in, I didn’t say they wouldn’t for sure. I did say I wouldn’t let them go to youth camp, and I stick by that. My kids get a steady dose of the Word and discipleship at home, where I believe God’s Word puts the responsibility. Anything the church teaches them is bonus. They have a solid foundation, and one my husband and I intend to continue to build on.
I have no intention to, nor do I feel God leading me to leave my church. I am blessed to be a part of a wonderful group of believers that operate as a family. As far as changing from the inside. I am not devising any plans or schemes. However, as a body, made up of many parts, the church is always (hopefully) being led from glory to glory and that is by the Lord working through individuals. I pray that we never reach a place where we insist on doing things the same way if in fact the Lord is stirring our hearts to make a change. At the very least, I pray that the Lord would show us how to get parents more involved in the discipleship of their own children. Stronger families equal stronger churches.
And one more point and I’m finished. I know that ultimately, you cannot force someone to serve God. God has given us all free will. But parents have a responsibility to raise their children and too many don’t do it. They don’t DISCIPLE their children. Sure they may have everything money can buy and they may even come to church every week. But, the exposure you receive in church isn’t enough. Not only for kids. My life would be in total shambles if I only opened my Bible when I was seated in the pew. How much more our kids that are faced with the world, and much more ungodly stuff than what we faced growing up. This opens up an entire new can of worms. Maybe what we need is Parents Group while Youth Group is going on. Teaching parents how to disciple their kids. How to set healthy boundaries on what to watch, listen to, how to dress etc. Teaching kids HOW to worship God in spirit and in truth. Teaching them the Word. I say this tongue in cheek, but it isn’t an altogether bad idea.

Have a great day ladies!

Miss Mollie said...

Everyone is making such great comments. I know my greatest asset is wearing out my knees for these kids. I think if we join in numbers that will strengthen the prayer. Keep praying and doing a fantastic, God-centered job with your kids. As the Missionette motto goes- one girl at a time(or boy- Rainbows).

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