Sunday, August 12, 2007

Return Unto Me, says the LORD

This is really sad to read. Only about 30% of young adults ages 18-30 keep attending church, despite the fact that they attended regularly with their parents during their youth and teen years.

Lots of reasons why they fall away stated in this article's sidebar.

The good news is that Proverbs 22:6 is correct about making the effort to "train up a child." God's Word does not return void. Some may depart for a while (in similar ways to the "Prodigal Son" account), but the research shows that many return to the faith in their 30's. Getting married and having children can spur some back towards the faith.

Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Excerpt from article:

The news was not all bad: 35% of dropouts said they had resumed attending church regularly by age 30. An additional 30% attended sporadically. Twenty-eight percent said "God was calling me to return to the church."

The survey found that those who stayed with or returned to church grew up with both parents committed to the church, pastors whose sermons were relevant and engaging, and church members who invested in their spiritual development.

Perhaps those who experienced a period of time away from church can attest to the fact that it served as an important spiritual growth lesson. The article shares that those who left, later realized their need to return to the Lord. The Lord was calling them back to faith! And Jeremiah reiterates that returning back to God with their whole hearts is key.

Jer 24:7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I [am] the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.

HT: Christian Business Daily


Merwin said...

Interesting reading. It would appear we have very similar tastes in books too.

God bless you and your family.

Jaded said...

I think that many kids are trying to find their own identities, separate and apart from their parents. Part of that is making choices their parents might not make. However, it's a good sign that they return to the chuch. It means they were given the right tools so that when they do experience life without fellowship, they realize what they're missing and head home to God.

I think it's important that the survey found that those who stayed or returned grew up with Christian parents, had a pastor who was relevant and felt like part of a family within the church. We're all needed in the spiritual growth of those around us, especially our children.

Anonymous said...

I left Church when I was 20, and Returned almost a year ago. It's sad, but many people do turn away, and only a few keep on the path.

Christinewjc said...

Hi Merwin,

Welcome to Talkwisdom! I glanced over at your blog and see that you are actively involved with sharing the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

God bless you in your walk with our Lord!



Well said, Jaded. I think that the delicate balance of independence from parents yet still following after all that they have been taught by their parents and pastor can be a difficult thing to do. However, as you said, they "miss the Lord" and all that they were taught, so like the Prodigal Son, come back to the faith.

It's a good thing that they had foundational experience through their parents in the first place. I would imagine that it is much more difficult for those raised in agnostic/atheist atmospheres to come to Christ in the first place. So many more obstacles to overcome.


Hi Robert,

You happen to be one who walked away for a while but did return to the faith years later. Do you think that your upbringing in the church eventually helped lead you back towards faith in Christ?

Christinewjc said...

In a related article, note the following:

"I have long believed that many, if not most, of those attending Christian churches in America are not, in fact, Christians. They have not submitted their lives to Jesus Christ. They have not truly repented of their sins. They have not transformed their view of the world in the way Paul explained in Corinth: "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

Also, although I may not agree with everything each person wrote, it is certainly interesting to read some of WorldNetDaily's letters to the editor

Since the letters eventually fall off the page after a few days, here are copies of several that discuss this particular topic:

No mystery to lost savor

Barna reports that less than 15 percent of pastors actually believe that the Bible is God's inspired Word.

There's no mystery in the declining church attendance, even the leadership doesn't believe what they're selling.

David V.

Parents losing credibility

If young adults are falling away from the faith, I would say there is little most parents can do today to prevent that. Why? Because of two things: alienation and estrangement. Do you know how many "Christian" families today are secretly broken and distressed because of prior adult infidelity, divorce, adultery, and fornication? Just because adults live a wild lifestyle before they get saved doesn't mean their wild lifestyle won't have consequences on them and their children in the future.

Many children that are the products/victims of sinful behavior feel like strangers growing up in their family, even if by all appearances they are in a normal, traditional household. I know I did, because I had a different father.

How do you expect children today to respect their parent's faith when they resent them for what they did? I mean, once there is a divorce, or it's revealed that a child was had with another man (like in my case), the parent's credibility as an authority figure kinda goes out the window, wouldn't you say? You think they'll be praying together much after that? You think they'll be a whole lot of teamwork and family spirit after that? I don't think so.

I say forget about the parents, they're old news, and what they did cannot be undone. Focus on the young adults, the ones who still have the chance to make the right decisions where their parent's made the wrong ones.


Churches doing poor job of teaching biblical truth

I enjoyed your column today, unfortunately you are right about churches not teaching much and kids leaving the church when it appears the Bible doesn't have any answers.

Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis has stated this repeatedly, that churches are doing a poor job of teaching biblical truth to kids. Once they go to public schools they're taught the Bible can't be trusted on the issue of creation, due to science proving evolution to be true, they then believe the Bible has no answers for anything and walk away from it.

There is so much in the Bible that is accurate in the areas of history, archeology, and science, if only people were taught they would be able to stand on a sure foundation. A Christian does not have blind faith, if you want to see someone with that, look at an evolutionist.


Churches filled with unconverted members

I just read your article regarding young people leaving the churches they grew up in.

As an independent, fundamental Baptist I agree whole-heartedly with your comments. While not specifically stated (I don't believe Baptist equals Protestant) it appears as if the same is occurring in Baptist churches as well.

You nailed it sir, that our churches appear to be filled with unconverted church members. To use the word in a broad sense, religion appears to have a form of godliness, with a denial of the power therein (2 Tim. 3:5).

I'll close with a Scripture the Lord brought to mind while reading through this. "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:" Isaiah 29:13"

Keep up the good work.

Shane B.