Yup, you read that right. As many as NINETY PERCENT of kids who are active in their church youth groups leave the faith after high school.
While a slew of studies have the exact numbers all over the map, they all agree that the percentage falls somewhere between 70-90%.
Parents, that is ASTOUNDING.
You teach them. You shepherd them. You disciple them.
You pray for them.
And then they leave your home, and there are no guarantees about what happens next. As millions of parents have painfully learned.
But here’s the good news: up to two-thirds of those kids eventually return to the church. So the seed that was planted eventually grew. And bore fruit.
There’s something unique about those early-adult years. Kids are stretching their wings. Exploring. Developing. Growing.
And eventually they find what was there all along. But what if it was possible to spare your kids the pain of that in-between period and help them mature their faith before they leave your home?
Here are some things you can do:
1. Let them ask hard questions. Let them know it’s okay to question. It’s okay to doubt. Let them know that God can handle it – and that you’re not disappointed by it. Instead of dismissing their concerns and doubts, walk through it with them. Empathize with their struggles. Teach them how to seek. If they can wrestle with the hard things under your roof, they might not wait until they’re 19 and no longer have the full-time guidance of a parent.
2. Let your child be exposed to the world, not sheltered from it. As much as we hate to admit it, what the world offers can be tempting. And your child will be exposed. Again, help them learn how to navigate in the world from a Christian perspective while they are in your home. Teach them to be in the world, but not of it (John 17:14-19). When they begin to branch out on their own, they won’t be surprised. They won’t be caught off guard. They’ll know how to live amongst people who may have very different values – and how to love and bear witness to them without judgement. You’ve got the opportunity while they’re still home to help them learn.
3. Consider a Christian education. This is no easy task, parents. To better prepare your child and help them develop a mature faith before they’re launched into the great unknown, choose a Christian education. The educators will come alongside you, support your family’s values, and walk with your child to develop a well-rounded, deep faith.
*research statistics can be found here