There is an epidemic in this generation of young adults who attended church when they were children and young teens only to leave as soon as they become “of age.” What are we as a church doing to get these students to leave? While there are many answers to this question, here are five things your church can do to get children to leave as soon as they grow up.
- Play a lot of games in children’s church. Games aren’t wrong, but when a children’s ministry mostly focuses on games and the wow factor, children will grow up expecting to be entertained. When they start attending adult church, they will become disappointed and leave.
- Teach children to be good. It doesn’t sound right, but teaching children to be good can cause them to walk away from the church. There is nothing wrong with being good, but we should be teaching children to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Being good isn’t good enough. We need to teach our children to be godly.
- Teach watered-down Bible stories. Bible stories are important. So is every other part of the Bible. But if we only teach watered-down Bible stories and concepts instead of teaching children the entire Word of God in a way they can understand, we inoculate them to the Gospel. We give them just enough to feel good about themselves, not enough to get them saved. Unfortunately many Christian Education publishers are doing that to make sure their curriculum is accepted by all denominations. Children can learn doctrine if we teach it in a way they can understand.
- Don’t let children have a part in ministry. Teach them that their only role is to come to church and listen, maybe play a few games, and you’ll assure them that they’re not an important part of the church. Children can be taught to minister. I know because I’ve taught children to minister in every area of the church including doing object lessons, leading praise, leading in prayer and preaching by the age of 12. I’ve even taught children to be prayer warriors for leaders in the church.
- Always segregate the children. If you never let children—or even teens in some cases—be a part of the congregation, they will grow up in the church but not being a part of the church. They’ll have little or no connection with the older saints and will leave when they’re no longer a part of the youth or children’s ministry. They’ll be out of their comfort zone. One way to stop this from happening is to make sure children are included in intergenerational church services once a month and to make a place for them at church events.