Thursday, July 10, 2014

Where Have All Our Children Gone? (Ken Ellis)

Lord willing, I am almost to Singapore! Tonight's entry is the first of a number written by my good friends, Ken Ellis. Keep me in prayers as I begin my twenty-five day mission to Can Tho, Vietnam!

Where Have All Our Children Gone?
Where have all our children gone, long time passing?
Where have all our children gone, long time ago?
Where have all our children gone?
They've left the church nearly everyone.
Oh, when will we ever learn?
Oh, when will we ever learn?

You have probably guessed that I substituted some of the words for Peter, Paul and Mary's popular song Where Have All the Flowers Gone.  Just as fewer people nationwide attend Sunday services, more and more of our children are becoming unfaithful to the church.  If you are looking for statistics regarding the percentage of church of Christ young people who are leaving the church, I don't have any.  But I think by merely looking at the families here at Northeast whose kids are no longer faithful that one can assume the problem is a common one throughout our faith.  Suffice it to say:  Church . . . we have a problem!

Why is this happening?  I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I would have to say to a great extent that it is the failure of the parents to do everything possible to instill a love of the Lord in their kids from early childhood through the teen years.  Now, don't go getting a guilt complex over this, as this is my reasoning and not necessarily yours.  And, yes, freedom of choice, personality traits, lack of respect for authority, peer pressure, worldly appeal, and other factors all play a part at times in a child's decision making.  If we, as parents, have done all that we can to teach our children about a relationship with God and Jesus, and the child decides otherwise, then the responsibility for that choice falls on the child.

We are currently in the hunt for a Youth Minister.  And I agree that a Youth Minister possesses qualifications that are sometimes lacking in parents, but we can never shun our responsibilities as parents and off load them onto the shoulders of the Youth Minister.  May I make a few suggestions based on where I fell short as a father when my children were young:

  • Three worship services a week is no guarantee of instilling faith into a child.
  • With regard to conversations with your kids:  LISTEN!  LISTEN!  LISTEN!
  • Pray with them daily.
  • Make God a daily part of your conversation.
  • Involve your kids in mission trips or service projects for the needy.
  • Encourage them to be leaders in the church at a young age.
  • Whenever possible, have family devotionals.
  • Continue to tell them that God loves them and will care for them.
  • Read them bible stories when they are young.
  • Make their preparation for their roles in the Kingdom more of a priority than their preparation for their roles in this world.

Our children deserve it!  God expects it!  Eternity demands it! 

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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