In his book, Revolutionary Parenting, researcher George Barna states that:
- Most of our children are biblically illiterate.
- Less than one out of five kids believes that sharing her faith is important;
- Less than half believe that their faith is important to their lives;
- More than half believe Jesus sinned just like us while he was on earth.
- One quarter of our children do not believe there is a God;
- Just over half believe that God is all-knowing, all powerful, and rules over creation.
When I read these stats I was deeply saddened, but grew even deeper in my conviction that at Trinity, our goal will always be to partner with parents and help equip them rather than embracing the traditional idea of “let the professional ministers take care of your children.” We do not want a children’s ministry or student ministry that consistently allows our young people to live on a island. They are not the church of tomorrow any more than the Senior Adults are the church of yesterday. We have stated multiple times that we need all types and ages of people in the fellowship together, working and serving side by side. Now, this certainly doesn’t mean there is never a reason for separation of men and women or boys and girls; even among ages there are times that we can get in different groups. But, as the body we must not be people who only desire to be with people in the same “life phase” or age as we are in. We have a Bible study for men and boys of all ages because I want my teenagers to see other men, of different ages serving the one true God. We have men and women’s Bible studies so different ages can come together. I don’t want to teach my boys that if they are out they will get a call from a Bible study teacher, but rather that they need to be there because they are called to be in the body to serve: they are there not only for the glory and worship of God, but to love and minister to others. It is one thing for a 3 year old to just think church is about them, but my 13 year old should understand that we don’t gather for him, we gather for the benefit of the body and the worship of God. You may be wondering what all this has to do with the statistics that are in Barna’s book: it’s very simple, the Word of God tells us we should be teaching our children as we are walking, talking, lying down, sitting.....The point is that this should be happening as a natural part of our life, not as a one time event each week on Sunday. As a parent I must be growing if I am going to disciple another: could it be that many of our children are “biblically illiterate” because so many of our adults are biblically illiterate? Could it be that less than 20% of our children believe that sharing their faith is important because they have never seen their parents at any point, in any arena share their faith? When they watch parents choose ball, band and any other hobby over gathering with the Body of Christ is there anything else they can conclude except that faith is not really that important? We ask them what they learned at school but really are not that concerned what they got out of the church service, after all if we “make them go” they will hate it when they are older (sarcasm). By the way, does it work the same way with school? If we make them go will they eventually drop out and never get a degree? Certainly not, but the question is why? Because we tell them, we demonstrate to them by our homes, our trips our hobbies the “why” of school and work. Sadly, many parents can not articulate, must less demonstrate the why of worship.