Depending on your source approximately 60% to 80% of young people from Christian families are leaving the church once they graduate high school.
Many Christian families look at these numbers with trepidation.
Some think that whether their children become a statistic or not is completely out of their control. We are all observant enough to perceive that there are a lot of big churches out there that are empty on Sundays. We notice that the church in America seems to be shrinking. Some adults have even accepted the idea of the prodigal son or daughter as just being a part of growing up that and we should expect children to leave the church for a time.
Most of us who went to a secular college or university experienced the trials of that one bitter professor who spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince young Christians that there was no God. I know I was one of those young people who went through his teenage years in attending church, going home each Sunday, never believing, and ultimately fleeing the church the first opportunity I got. I didn’t believe in Christ when I arrived at college and while I was there one of these professors simply enforced the ideas that were already bouncing around my head. By college, I had completely veered off the course that my family had practiced.
I was no longer willing to check the same boxes as my family…
Change the pattern
The larger statistics of young people leaving the church and the anecdote to this trend is the answer to why we believe Teach Them Diligently events are so important.
I want to give you a quote that is foundational to the mission of Teach Them Diligently. Make no mistake, we are a homeschool convention, but we are also much more! Teach Them Diligently has a mission tied closely to the Great Commission that we believe will turn the tide of young people leaving the church.
“You teach what you know, but you reproduce who you are!”
If you have been connected with Teach Them Diligently for a while (we have been around for 8 years), then you have probably heard me say this from the main stage at one point or another. Keep reading because I will tie that quote into our larger mission, but first, one more story connected to a good friend of mine.
Once as I was reading Family Shepherds by Voddie Baucham, he described how separated our families are today. He pointed out that a typical Christian family will send their children to a traditional school for 8 hours a day while the parents head to work. The mom and dad will often get home late, and the children are generally participating in extra activities like cheerleading, sports, clubs, etc. Once everyone finally comes home, they scarcely ever eat a meal together. The children do homework and study for tests while parents watch television. Then, they go to church, and it gets worse: They go to Sunday School separated by age and then on to children’s church. The church is filled with programs broken down by age so the families seldom, if ever, worship together in the same room.
Did you know that the average father or mother only spends 34 minutes per day with their children?
When I saw this statistic, my immediate thought was that THIS was the answer! This is the reason that so many of our children are leaving their family’s church when they leave the home. They were never part of the same church to begin with.
In Deuteronomy 6 God gives a very direct and specific plan to the Israelite’s about how to pass down their faith in God to their children. He does not say create special groups, or find a youth pastor, or find a good school. Instead, He directly instructs the parents. He tells them how and what to teach. We will unpack this more in an upcoming post. However, what I want to focus on right now is that God instructs the parents. To teach. Their. Children.
Now, some of you may read this and think that I am demonizing all schools, youth groups, and Sunday School programs—I am not! What I am trying to communicate is that there are a lot of parents who are anxious to throw their children to churches and schools to disciple and educate them. They are entirely outsourcing this crucial role!
So many parents do not even realize that they are the ones who God has directed to pass down a love and belief in the redemptive work of Christ.
Homeschooling is not a checkbox!
You don’t suddenly start homeschooling and your children become smarter and more spiritual than everyone else. At Teach Them Diligently, we are adamantly opposed to reducing a Life with Christ to a series of checkboxes.
The truth is that our children need their parents. They need parents to invest in them and engage with them.
It is most definitely possible to engage in discipiling your children and still send them to school. It is harder, but definitely possible! I know a lot of children who love the Lord and have a wonderful testimony in public and private school.
At Teach Them Diligently we are advocates for homeschooling because we believe homeschooling, with the intention of discipleship and equipping children to excel in this world, is the best way to produce young people who love the Lord Jesus Christ. Additionally, we believe parents are to teach their children how to teach and mentor others. Some of you have heard me say many times that your home is your Jerusalem.
AND, if parents are to be the disciples God meant them to be, there is one word you should remember that is incredibly important to this process. I will share this word with you in the next post. It could be the most impactful thing you ever tell your children in the day-to-day process of raising and equipping them.
We believe the antidote for young Christians leaving the church and running away from Christ is parents who are engaging and taking seriously the task of discipleship that God has given them.
THIS is the reason that you hear us talk so much about relationships at our events.
Of course, we spend a lot of time talking about the academic success of homeschooling. However, there are more sessions regarding relationships in terms of parenting and marriage and even your relationship with Christ due to this focus. And every year at Teach Them Diligently Convention there are several who realize that they have never come to a saving knowledge of Christ. In fact, one year we had 8 salvation decisions in our teen program alone. We must get to their hearts!
We don’t ignore teaching methods, organization, or academics. But, if you are in the middle of your school year and getting frustrated because your year is not quite going the way you envisioned in August, remember that the core is discipleship. Pray over your homeschool! Ask God to forgive you for being frustrated and remember what the ultimate goal is! It will be okay! God is with you!
God will not ask you to do anything that he has not equipped you to achieve, right? You need Him though and that is the point.
He does not expect you to be perfect! Which brings me again to the one word you need to remember…I’ll present this in my next blog!
For now, remember that your children need you to engage in their lives for Christ and mentor them to be reproducing believers equipped to love God and to serve Him better in the future.
We at Teach Them Diligently see our mission as encouraging you to seize the role God has for you and help you precede with greater confidence as a servant of Christ. We truly do believe that homeschooling when done biblically will strengthen your family in Christ.
If you are reading this and have already registered then invite a friend or family member. The truth is that whether or not they are homeschoolers or even considering homeschooling, they can still benefit from the vision of these events. Need more info about the referral program? Click Here
LIKE and FOLLOW us on FACEBOOK
FOLLOW us on INSTAGRAM
Do you want more articles on a wide range of topics like discipleship, academics, family, encouragement and general homeschooling? Just click here to search the vast blog library!