Why are young people leaving the church? It’s not an easy question to answer, but I have my ideas. As parents, we teach our children from the moment we wake up in the morning until we go to bed at night. Everything we do trains them in some way. They watch and listen and understand our reactions without being told. Children can see the difference between a confession of faith on Sunday and what is expressed at home.
Faith that comes from knowledge instead of relationship is not faith at all. Jesus said, My sheep know my voice. If the voice of God is not heard in the home, there is nothing to follow. Children can be entertained anywhere, but what they want is the real thing, just like everyone else. If what they see at home is not the Emmanuel, God with us, they will look for something else to fill that deep need to know Him.
We are called to live in intimacy with God, not worship Him from a distance. He needs to be active in our lives when the washing machine breaks down, when the dog is hit by a car, when bills are past due. Turning to God for help when you need it is what Jesus meant when He said, Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. (Mat 6:25) He knows what you need, but you won’t see His help until you start to trust Him.
Let your children watch you trust God in the hard times. Let them see you put your family in His hands. Then let them see you rejoice in gratitude when the answers come. Show them the reality of God and His amazing love. Once they understand that He is real and active, there’s no reason to leave.