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 became "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 might be doing to prompt children to leave when they grow up.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 against the gospel. We give them just enough to feel good about themselves but not enough to get them saved. Unfortunately, many Christian education publishers are doing just 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.
4. Don't let children have a part in ministry. Teach them that their only role is to come to church and listen—and 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.
5. 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 without necessarily 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.
Tamera Kraft has 30 years' experience in children's ministry and founded Revival Fire Kids Ministry in 2007 in her hometown of Akron, Ohio. Tamera received the Church of God National Children's Leader's Association Shepherd's Cup in 2007 for lifetime achievement and advancement in children's ministry. Tamera has taught in national workshops and has conducted kids crusades, church camps, and children's camp meeting services, as well as consultations and teacher training for a number of churches.
For the original article, visit churchleaders.com.
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