Let me just cut to the chase. This book is shocking on one level. On another it’s really quite unsurprising – expected even.
It’s been said that upwards of 80% of church kids graduate from church when they graduate from high school. A lot of reasons have been thrown out for this horrid trend: things involving worship styles [are we not entertained?], small groups [we had such hopes!], sermon lengths [soundbyte theology or filler material for the music program?: you decide], “relevance” [It took me 6 months of enthusiastic research to realize that the relevant movement is pretty much embarrassed to be a part of the church and that the movement as a whole is trendy but in the end mostly irrelevant to the question] and whether or not the idea of a youth group as it’s done today is even Scriptural much less effective [are we just providing them with a more or less safe place to socialize and play with a little bit of Bible thrown in?] – and so on and so forth.
Ken Ham and Britt Beemer surveyed 1,000 former church kids from conservative churches [so presumably the numbers would be hideously worse in liberal, devil-may-care, biblically blase’ mainline churches, especially if the authors’ uncovered reasons for this mass exodus are accurate!]. The expected outcome was that just over 10% of those former church kids were still going to church during college. 90% had flown the coop by high school. OK, to be redundant, we expected that. But we didn’t expect to find that while 95% of these kids attended church regularly during their elementary and middle school years, only 55% were still attending during high school.
Waitasec! Aren’t they supposed to be graduating from church as they grab their high school diplomas? What happened to the middle schoolers? About 40% of the kids in our churches are already gone before high school [and of course this this where the book takes its name]. By the way, about 90% of those kids went to public school. Guess what they start teaching hot and heavy in middle school? Evolution and millions of years – the latter being the key issue here.
You should read this book. Or at least watch the DVD version. [Of course, the State of the Nation with Ken Ham’09 DVD is by all accounts an extended version of the Already Gone DVD, so why not get more bang for your buck, eh?] This isn’t a dry survey. If you care about our kids, this thing will grip you. You won’t put it down. You’ll keep picking it back up. You’ll stew over it. You’ll wish it said something else. You’ll look over your congregation and survey those kids and mentally erase 90% of them and beg God to show you how to keep that from actually coming true in your own church [IF your church still has any kids…]
Ken Ham and Britt Beemer call this an epidemic. I’d call it a pandemic. And it’s not very well
Some surprising results: Kids who go to Sunday School are MORE likely question the Bible and have unBiblical views on homosexuality, abortion and a range of other hot button issues. Those who GO to Sunday school are MORE likely to believe that evolution is true and the Earth ismillions of years old.Those who go to Sunday school are even morelikely to see the Church as hypocritical and see church attendance as irrelevant toChristianity than those who DON’T go to Sunday school.
Why? A few reasons. In Sunday school we get Bible stories [compare this with the way the same passages are treated if they comefrom the pulpit] but we get history, curriculum and science in school. The schools teach about rocks, fossils, dinosaurs and history. Too often, the Church doesn’tspeak of these things at all. Kids are more likely to hear an adult say that you can believe God used evolution in Sunday school.
Read this book. We need solutions to this pandemic. Church as usual won’t cut it when the cost is 90% of our kids. It’s time to re-evaluate how we’re doing God’s work. These kids showed a trend of questioning whether they could trust the Bible. We need to give these kids the tools they need to defend the Bible.
And we need to start making some changes NOW, because some of them are,well, already gone.
Christian clergy need to network, pool together resources and exchange ideas to give churches and Christians the tools they need to defend Genesis, to defend the Gospel, to defend God’s Word. We hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity that this group affords in that regard. Our enemy is engaged, motivated and organized. It’s time to step up to the plate and take it up a notch.
God, let our lampstands blaze with truth and holy zeal!
You can buy your copy of Already Gone at the DefGen.org eStore.
There is a WordPress blog dedicated to promoting the book at http://alreadygonebook.wordpress.com/
Rev Tony Breeden
This review was originally posted on http://DefendingGenesis.org