In North America 80% of college kids leave the church when they hit college and go off on their own. (I was one of them)
By the time kids reach the age of 13 they have a generalized view of their world-they see what needs to be changed, they see the hurt that the world has to offer as well as all the temptations (My 6 year old sister has come up to me and asked me if the clothing she was wearing is sexy. My 5 year old daughter hasn’t the slightest clue what’s going on in the world although she’s convinced Batman can save it…teachers say she doesn’t act her age, she’s behind.)
I’m kept awake at night by the thought of my little girl facing the world one day. I know this day will come, and I know many Christain parents as well as Kid’s Ministry Teachers dread the thought…we all know so many will be lost to the world surrounding them. The world that hates barriers, who claim that the “Rules” in the Bible prohibit freedom which is wrong.
How do we grow kids who know God?
Children must possess two things. A heart Knowledge and a Head knowledge. A Head knowledge is what kids hear, the doctrine, the written word. The Heart knowledge is taking that written word and applying it. Many Children today get one and not enough of the other. I grew up with a head knowledge, my Sunday School teachers drilled Bible into me but I never really applied it nor did I ever truly love Jesus so much that he was my best bud and I would rely on him. God was distant even though I’ve always believed in God…I have never had the sence of God being close to me. But at the same time there are children who are taught the Love of Jesus, they apply it but do not have the doctrine to back them up-when the world comes knocking they are easily tempted because they can’t or won’t use the written word to back up their beliefs.
What happens when Children have both Head and Heart knowledge? They become Deciples of Christ, reading the word and taking action. And I know, it’s a tough thing to do as a child but I have seen so many young deciples who are just on fire for the word, they hunger for it, they talk about it…and all these kids have amazing examples to follow-their very own parents.
Making a good deciple starts at home. Sunday school crams about 80 hours a year into kid’s heads. Parents can sped over 3000 hours a year leading by example, teaching, reading, encouraging etc.
I recently went to a leadership conference where I learned the above methods. It is important to list Deciple qualities, pick one or two of those qualities (ie: giving, forgiveness, love, evangelism etc) and brain storm ways to strengthen these qualities. Also brain storm ways for parents to get involved. And not just church parents but the ones who don’t even go to church but allow their kids to attend.
Some good ways to get parents on board is to send home news letters and updates, invite them out to their kid’s class room, encourage them (even though it may be hard to talk one on one with parents…thankfully most parents use social media and email), have a blog or web page up which includes updates, resources etc…the list goes on.
My little group brainstormed Giving. How can we get kids to have a giving heart? (Children can and will give from their little hearts.) some of the things we came up with were: Getting kids involved, having adults share testimony of giving, use media-video to show kids other kids in need, having parents teach tithing, getting kids involved with fundraising, show Biblical examples…even have one of the kids make announcements up front, informing parents about what is going on, let kids dream…and the list goes on.
It’s not really that hard to grow kids who know God. You just have to start with the Bible and give them hands on experience. Let kids explore, let kids do the things adults do (Like help out, serve, fundraise, give etc). Growing the next generation of deciples starts with us, the adults and kids really are a product of their environment. So lets create that Godly environment. Get brainstorming!