Parents, Keep Up the Insanity

Parents, Keep Up the Insanity

Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” In Christian parenting this insanity is occurring. Parents, keep up the insanity, but let’s tweak somethings within that insanity.

Wait, what?

Hang with me.

Many Christian parents, like you, are trying hard to impart truth and encourage their children to follow Christ. This has been happening for generations. Methods of doing this in America have been the same for decades, likely longer, but the results aren’t positive.

In 2001, I read a statistic from Lifeway research that said 70% of children and teens raised in Christian homes, will leave the church by age 22. At the time I was a student pastor and an itinerant youth evangelist, and those words stung. I wasn’t surprised by them, rather it confirmed what I was seeing within student ministries across the country. Yet it was painful to acknowledge. This meant all the work I was pouring myself into seemed like a waste of time. What I hoped would happen with students in becoming sold out for Christ was just a pipe dream.

I carried a graphic of that statistic with me and have checked in on that statistic continually throughout the years.

Study after study would tell us the same type thing. The common thread is at least two-thirds of children and students raised in Christian homes and church leave by high school or college.

(Have you gotten our latest children’s book Jesus and His White Horse?)

In 2009, Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis shared from Barna research that six-out-of-ten children and teens who had been raised in church and were now in their twenties, were already gone.

There are recent studies where statisticians claim it has improved, but I believe that’s only because there are fewer children and teens being raised in Christian homes. From what I see in student ministries across the country today and hear from collegiate ministry leaders, I believe the epidemic has only increased.

This isn’t only an epidemic with our children and teens, but across all ages. I had the chance to interview author, David Sanford, on my podcast Hold On. He began to sound the alarm in 2008 through his book, If God Disappears, that 35 million Americans who once professed to be a Christian had left the faith. He told me what he told a group of Christian broadcasters at that time. If this was any other corporation and we were losing that many “customers” we’d be out of business. Through his book and speaking tour with it, he encouraged the church to do something, but that warning was mostly ignored.

Through Stand Firm, I’ve been trying to sound the same alarm. Leaders agree it’s happening, but no one wants to attempt a change to curb the reality of professed Christians leaving the church and the faith, especially children and teens. Instead, they continue doing the same thing over and over expecting…err hoping for different results—better results. Insanity.

(Read more about this in my award-winning book Spiritual Prepper.)

Think about the children’s and student ministries in our churches, in light of this at least twenty-year nosedive of faith in our students. Have we made changes? Maybe a few, but for the most part we continue doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results. Insanity.

Think about our parenting, have we made changes? Again, maybe a few, but for the most part we continue doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results. Insanity.

Parents, we have to try something to make the outcome different for our children. I know, like Peter in Matthew 26:35, we don’t think that would happen to our child, but they’re susceptible. We have to make a change.

What should we do then?

Well, we need to at least keep up the insanity. What? I know it sounds ridiculous. And no, what we’re doing as Christian parents and in churches isn’t quite working, but they’re still good things. The insanity we’re doing as we try to impart truth to our children and encourage them to follow Christ is good. But we have to make tweaks. We have to focus in and be very intentional on how we are teaching and leading our children towards Christ.

Auto pilot isn’t working. Eternity hangs in the balance.

Parents, keep up the insanity, but let’s make adjustments.

The starting point is to stop and think what you’re actually doing. What is the strategy and process you have to help your child come to know Jesus and follow them all the days of their life? Likely you will find that though you do good things, you don’t have a comprehensive strategy or process. So create one.

And at Stand Firm Parents we do have a strategy and would like to help. Reach out.

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