When I began in the ministry of ministering to men I came across two statistics that has directed me in many of my conversations.
The first is that out of 10 men in the church, nine will have children that will leave the church when they are grown. This was noted in the North American Mission Board magazine article “Swim with the Sharks (and Survive)” in 2004. The other is that out of 10 men in the church, only one man will have a biblical worldview. This was from the survey through The Barna Research “Most Adults Feel Accepted by God but Lack a Biblical Worldview in 2005.”
Though both of these were written over a decade ago, there is no reason to believe this has improved. In fact, it has probably worsen.
As I gave consideration to these statistics, I had to ask myself how did this happen?
When I look back on my life I was raised in the church. I knew nothing but the church while growing up. I thought everyone – at least in the United States – went to church. I am one who can say I was in church nine months before I was born.
When I started having children of my own I made sure they were in church. They attended all the children and youth activities and ministries the church had to offer. I did exactly what my parents did – I made sure my children were in church.
As I continued to give consideration to these statistics I was reminded of Deuteronomy 6:5-7,
“Love the LORD your God with all you heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
I had to ask myself. Did I do this? The answer is NO! I did not. Not one time did I gather my children and wife around the table and read from the Bible. Never did I speak spiritual insight or wisdom into my children. It is only by the grace of God my children came to know Christ as their Savior and are active in their respective churches today.
As I continued with this thought, it occurred to me this is why today we see so many who identify themselves as ‘Dones.’ Those who are done with church. If I was to do a survey and the men were totally honest, I believe we would find I was not the exception but rather the rule.
So, I am submitting to you we the parents, going back many decades even centuries, are to blame for the falling away we see in church attendance today; thereby, the cultural that is manifesting itself within the public today. Both in the young and old.
If you are not spending time with your family reading the Bible together and praying together, I want to encourage you to start. For our children need to see that the Word of God and spending time with the Father is an important part of our life.
And maybe – just maybe – with God’s help – we can begin to turn the hearts of our children back to God (Joshua 24:23).
Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike