Depending on who you ask or reference…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 and not growing. Some adults have even accepted this idea of the prodigal son or daughter as being a part of growing up where we can expect children to leave the church for a time.
All of us who went to a secular college or university went through the gauntlet of a bitter professor that spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince young Christians that there was no God. I was one of these young people that went through his teenage years in a church-going home, never believing, and fleeing the church the first opportunity I received. I didn’t believe in Christ when I arrived at college and while I was there one of these professors simply gave force to the beliefs already bouncing around my head. By college, I had already veered off the course my family preached.
I was no longer willing to check the same boxes as my family…
These larger statistics of young people leaving the church and the antidote to this trend is the answer to why we believe these 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 around Teach Them Diligently for a while (this is our 8th year producing events,) you have heard me say this from the main stage at one point or another. Keep reading because I will tie that quote into the larger mission, but first, another story connected to a good friend of ours.
Once as I was reading Family Shepherds by Voddie Baucham, I noticed how he described how separated our families are now. He points 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 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 will do homework and study for tests while parents watch television or whatever. Then, they go to church, and it is 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 worship together in the same room or even sit together. Many young children never witness their parents actively participating in worship.
Did you know that the average father or mother only spends 34 minutes per day with their children?
When I saw this, my immediate thought was that this was the answer…! This is the reason that so many of our children are running from the church when they leave the home.
In Deuteronomy 6 God gives a very direct and specific plan to the Israelites about how to pass down their faith in God to their children. He does not say create this institution 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 a little more in an upcoming article. However, what I want to focus on right now is that God instructs the parents to teach them.
Now, some of you are reading this and thinking that I am demonizing all schools, youth groups, and Sunday School programs. I am not! What I am saying is that there are a lot of parents that are anxious to throw their children to churches and schools to disciple and educate them. They are outsourcing!
So many parents do not even realize that they are the ones 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 diminishing 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.
It is very possible to engage in discipling your children and still send them to public or private school. However, I do think it is harder, but definitely possible! I know a lot of children that love the Lord in public and private schools.
We (Teach Them Diligently) are advocates for homeschooling because we believe homeschooling with the intention of discipleship and equipping them to excel in this world is the best way to reproduce young people that 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 Leslie and I absolutely believe that our mission is first to those God placed in our home.
AND, if parents are to be the disciplers God meant them to be, there is one word you should remember that is incredibly important in this process. I discussed this one important word in another article you can access by clicking here. It truly could be the most impactful thing you could ever tell your children in the day to day process of raising and equipping them, so I encourage you to take a few minutes to check it out.
We believe the antidote for the flow of young Christians out of the church and away from Christ is parents engaging and taking serious the task of discipleship God has given them.
This is the reason that you hear us talk so much about relationships at our events, and that is the reason Leslie penned the Teach Them Diligently book to talk about what the Bible has to say about discipleship-focused parenting.
Of course, we spend a lot of time talking about the academic success of homeschooling. However, there are also a lot of sessions regarding relationships in terms of parenting and marriage and even your relationship with Christ. Every year there are several that realize that they have never come to a saving knowledge of Christ. (One year, we had 8 salvation decisions in our teen program that wasn’t even programmed with that end as a goal.)
We don’t ignore teaching methods, organization, and academics. But, if you are in October and getting frustrated because your school 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…You can read that article here!
For now,…Remember that your children need you to engage in their life with Christ and mentor them to be reproducible 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 proceed with greater confidence as a servant of Christ. We truly do believe that homeschooling when done Biblically will strengthen your family in Christ.
We would love to have you join us there, because we truly do believe that you need this encouragement and further equipping for the mission God has given you. Find an event near you and plan to join us now.