If you’ve been around church very much you’ll see the same demographics in most (not all, but most) churches. You have the older folks who’ve been there forever, you have the nursery, preschool and early elementary school classes busting out at the seams, and of course the corresponding parents to go with all those offspring. What you TYPICALLY don’t see a lot of is tweens, teens and early 20’s.
Even in churches with youth groups, you’ll see small numbers most of the time (not all, but most). You ever wonder why that is?
My personal opinion is that we spend too much time entertaining kids, tweens and teens on Sunday mornings. We give them fun activities, high tech videos and a prize box full of penny candy and trashy trinkets to bribe them with. What we don’t do, is teach them who God is, what Jesus did for us and how to have a relationship with Him.
Here’s a true story for you. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. There once was this gal who taught “Kids Church”. The curriculum was pre-bought, prepackaged with all the bells and whistles. It had little Bible emphasis, which is just as good because even though this gal requested Bibles for her class for oh.say.a.year, there were none.
Each month had a theme to base the lessons around. During January the theme was the Olympics. The powers that be were shocked when, in February they asked “What was our theme last month?” and every.single.kid.in.the.room responded with “the Olympics”. Not a single kid had the slightest clue what watered down Bible truth they had been exposed to in the month of January.
Skip to March. The theme was “Control, Alt, Delete”…the principle is forgiveness (and quite honestly the teacher couldn’t figure out how Control, Alt, Delete tied in with it). Said teacher was following the lesson plan to a T…yes sir they were making Oobleck (I.kid.you.not), because that’s what it said to do, after all it WAS Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Then it happened.
An indignant fourth grade child, piped up quite loudly and said “And what does ANY of this have to do with learning about the Bible?'” The teacher, being the straight forward type responded with “You know, I asked myself that exact same question when I was getting the materials together for this.”
There you have it folks. Kids aren’t dumb. They know when they are being taught, and when they are being babysat.
They will bolt out of “church” at their first opportunity, looking for something real, and important and someone who will invest the time in teaching it to them….in the backseat, in the bar, in the drug house.
Oh, and the teacher, well she walked away too…because she couldn’t spend the rest of her life making oobleck while people were missing out on Jesus.