My corner of the world has been dragging a little over the last week. After the intestinal flu hit us, I think I was just completely depleted, and I caught another strain of it (high fever and a chest cold). By Monday, it was clear that I wouldn't be able to recover on my own, and at the urging (make that demand) of my mom, I made the dreaded doctor visit. Bronchitis and the beginnings of an ear infection are the diagnosis they gave, and I have spent the last three days trying to allow the antibiotic to do its work. It's not easy to rest with a closet full of presents to wrap, as well as the other household duties that don't seem to slow down for anything!
Yesterday evening, I raided my bookshelves, looking for something I hadn't yet had time to read, and I found:
I began to read, and didn't stop until I had finished all 178 pages. To be honest, I wasn't totally prepared for what this book would do to my heart and soul. The authors speak with clarity, and the statistics tell the story. Often I have observed children/teens/young adults in our church services and noticed the aloof, detached expressions on some of their faces, which in my mind indicated a complete disconnect from everything that was happening, and now I'm wondering: are they already gone?
Depending on whom you ask, you would get a variety of answers to why kids are leaving the church at a tremendous rate, but according to the statistics, most of these reasons are far from true. It's neither modern worship styles, with a seeker sensitive message and emotion driven music program, nor the traditional, always-done-it-this-way approach that is going to keep our kids. It's authenticity...people believing the Bible (from Genesis to Revelation), living the Bible, and relating the Bible to every other part of life...that is gonna make a difference for them.
Every pastor, Sunday School teacher, youth worker, and parent needs to read this book, and give serious consideration to the facts it presents.
I don't know about you, but I do not want to lose my kids. I want their personal experience of salvation and their relationship with Christ to be so vital and living that they are drawn to the church rather than repelled by it. As a Christian Educator, I am further grounded in the belief that our cause is a Biblical mandate, and am propelled toward finding new ways to establish students, not only in the fundamentals of our faith, but in the relevant connection of that faith to all of life.
If you have read Already Gone, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.