Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Exit Strategy

A recent study by the Barna Research group indicates that more than 70% of confessing believers will leave the church once they graduate high school. I've also read studies that indicate more than 80% of confessing evangelical teenagers will abandon the church and never return after their first year of college. We live in a Christian culture, that since 1970, has seen the number of youth and student ministry workers increase exponentially, while the percentage of teenage baptisms has steadily decreased at an alarming rate. We have more resources and potential to reach people with the gospel of Jesus, particularly in Western culture, than at any time in history, and yet we are seeing less and less confessions of Jesus among the youngest generations. What gives?

If one is looking for contributing factors, it seems that you would need to look no further than the humanistic, secular influence of our public schools. This isn't to say that parents are not to blame. Parents have been charged by Scripture as the primary spiritual caretakers of their children, and in many cases, even in our churches, parents aren't being godly parents. They aren't valuing Jesus the way they should in their homes. They are more concerned about material possessions, providing their children with a good education without critically evaluating biblically what that might look like, and more concerned about being entertained after a hard day at work than they are about the spiritual health of their child.

However, even the most godly parent must be prepared to face and defend the assault hurled at their children on a daily basis in the halls of our nations public schools. We need to face the facts. Public school children (in particular) are being indoctrinated with a humanistic, sexually deviant, secular, godless, man-centered, sin-glorifying worldview. Every day that they are subjected to education in a government-controlled public school, their soul is corrupted. Now, on some level, this fact is true of everyone who is alive and breathing in our culture. We can't escapt the temptations of this world, nor are we deaf to Her alluring song of deception. But the reality is that public school children are facing a crisis of belief on a daily basis that most children being educated in a solid Christian school or homeschool are not.

This is the reason that Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in 2005 called for an "exit strategy" from the nation's public schools among confessing evangelical believers, particularly among Southern Baptists ( I must admit that I've long been an advocate of Christians mixing it up in the public school system because I don't beleive we've been called to retreat from our culture. But now that I am a father of two little girls, I'm being forced to evaluate this thought on a much more critical, personal level. One must seriously wage the benefits of calling our children to engage in the frontline battle of engaging the culture for the sake of the Kingdom of Jesus. Even the most serious young, teenage Christian is not yet likely mature enough to engage their evolution-loving, God-demeaning biology teacher in a profitable spiritual conversation in a classroom setting full of their peers. This is to say nothing of the semi-pornographic assault brought on my immodesty in the hallways, the homosexual agenda being taught to children as young as 6-years old in California, the pollution of children's minds through profanity and verbal violence, and the subtle secular agendas that often emerge in the latest teaching curriculums.

Voodie Baucham, a Baptist evangelist believes that the responsibility falls on the church to intervene in the lives of not only our children, but children everywhere in our culture. "The mission field is not just overseas; it is right here. And this mission effort requires a more serious commitment than just handling out tracts or sharing a testimony." He futher elaborates by speaking towards the misplaced priorities of the church and the fact that God will hold us accountable for our children: "No passage in the Bible suggests that God is concerned about our churches having large sanctuaries or elaborately produced music. He will, however, hold us accountable for our stewardship of our children."

I'd say that is something to think and pray about. I'm listening. How about you?


At 1:00 AM , Blogger r a i n e r said...

I'm down with the exit strategy, have been, and have gotten much grief when stating that. Always I am told, our children need to be light in the public schools.

Oh yea? Would you send your 7 year old to be a missionary to Ecuador or even inner city America? No? Why not? Because they're not ready! It's not even close.

So why do we send our children into the schools and expect them to be 'missionaries' (especially when many parents who expect this only take their children to church for all of their Biblical education, and Mom & Dad are not teaching the ways of the Lord at home). I say for at least a time, until a child is born again and mature and bold enough to be a witness public schools shouldn't even be considered. But that's just me.


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