My husband has been a Youth Pastor for 10 years and we have seen a lot of kids come through our church. These kids consist of traditional family homes, divorced, single-parent, grandparent, aunts/uncles, group homes, etc. We have come to the conclusion that if mom and dad profess to be Christians yet do not live it out in their lives the kids have a very slim chance of living it out themselves. They have been taught it really doesn't matter so it really doesn't matter to the kids. The exception has been when a kid from a non-believing home chooses to follow Christ. That situation is difficult for that child, but they are not getting conflicting messages at home - "do what I say, not what I do". I thought I give you some of the thoughts that parents have shared with us through the years.
"Make church fun so my kid wants to be here"
"Can you make church not so 'church-y'"
"Kids can't absorb Bible study after being in school all day, so just have fun"
"My kids need something 'deeper' than what you offer"
I love the "deeper" comment. More often than not that kid is on his way out the door and usually not to another church. The pattern usually goes like this: Discontent with our youth group, shops around for another for awhile, quits going to church all together.
Question: If your kid didn't like school would you give them the option of not going? If they wanted to join the basketball team but didn't want to run at practice would that be OK? If your kid wanted to drive but didn't want to follow traffic rules would the police let that go? There are some things in our culture that are non-negotiable like school and following the laws yet when it comes to Christianity we don't want to take the whole truth. I am not talking about church attendance, I am talking about living out our commitment to Christ. We as parents set the standard. I am reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan along side of The Pursuit of God by AW Tozer. This is not a new problem - Tozer's book was written in 1948. Both books state the same issue of not really being a committed follower of Christ.
It starts with us.