From the book, "Family Driven Faith" by Voddie Baucham, Jr.:
"...We should not be surprised that young people are fleeing the church in groves. Why would anyone remain faithful to an organization with which they largely disagree?...The problem is not that these children are leaving Christianity. The problem is that most of them, by their own admission, are not Christian! (I John 2:19)...What if our sons and daughters are merely going through the motions as they walk through life as goats among the sheep or tares among the wheat? What if that four- or five-year-old we baptized because he or she was able to look out at the congregation and parrot the words, "Jesus is in my heart" was just saying what he or she had been conditioned to say?"
That was a mouthful (and a brain-full) wasn't it?! The biggest reason this is happening? Parents are leaving the teaching of their children up to the church, and unfortunately, the church is failing. A lot of Christian parents send their children to school to be taught worldly things, to church to be taught Godly things, and then they just try to take care of whatever is left over. The world is teaching children one thing, and the church is "sometimes" teaching children another. Just think about how much more time the world is given to teach our children. I would guess a majority of children from Christian homes are probably given an hour or two at most of Bible teaching in the modern church. Compare this to their time at public school, and who do you think is going to influence these children the most?
It is the duty of Christian parents to teach their children the things of God. We should be teaching our children every day about God and His ways, and we should make every situation that arises an opportunity to share with them what is right according to God's standards.
We cannot depend on one hour of Sunday School to take care of this for us. I recently purchased a DVD from Answers in Genesis (actually it was free with an Answers subscription). It was titled "Genesis, The Key to Reclaiming the Culture." This was very eye opening for me. The main idea was that we need to use the Bible to teach history, biology, anthropology, etc. Sunday school is an excellent opportunity to do this, but how often does that happen? In my Sunday School lifetime, that has never happened! Ken Ham goes on to explain that in Sunday School you hear the same basic stories over and over. That is so true. I teach 1st through 3rd grade Sunday School. They actually start as young as pre-K sometimes and stay in there until 3rd grade. They are with me for a while, so many of them know the stories well at this point. The curriculum our church uses basically uses the same stories each quarter. Every spring quarter, you have the Easter stories. Every Winter quarter, you have the Christmas stories - they're just rearranged slightly differently each time. I am getting weary with this, and I think the children are also.
After we attended an Answers in Genesis conference a few weeks ago, I was inspired to use the book of Job and talk to the children in my class about dinosaurs. I had never had such a captive audience. The next week I used an insert from my Answers magazine, and we talked about the book of Genesis and animal kinds. We looked at pictures of cats, from the largest to the smallest, and talked about the different cats from the cat kind. They were literally up on their knees in their chairs and were so excited!
I told them many things that were opposite of what they had already been told in school (even at such a young age), and some of them looked at me like I was an alien. This proves my point. Children need to be learning what is right and true in every aspect of God's creation. The basic Bible stories are good and needed, but we must move on and combat the false teachings that are being taught in the worldly classroom!
Take a look at what your children are learning in Sunday School, and if they are in public school, examine what they are being taught there as well. If it goes against what you know the Bible says is true, make sure they understand. Teach them about God every chance you get.
Lastly, I want to talk about the last statement from the quote above. I call it the "repeat after me" prayer. I am such an opponent of that! I'm afraid that too many children are trusting in the fact that they said a "repeat after me" prayer when they truly have no idea what they said or why they said it. I was in a children's church growing up where things like this were done. The pastor basically had two messages that he alternated each Sunday. One was on the sin of blasphemy, and the other was on a little girl that died. These messages scared us to death, and of course the children were jumping pews to get to the altar to pray after these sermons. Were we being told about the love of God and being given the desire to have a relationship with Jesus? No! We just didn't want to blaspheme or get sick and die like that little girl did! My parents trusted this church and this children's church pastor, so I don't think they ever attended one of our children's services. I believe a true Biblical New Testament church involves families attending church "together." Then you don't have to worry about the above episode. But, if your children are in a children's church, I encourage you to "see" what is going on. There's a local church that I know of that has a children's church that is basically a "circus." Is God pleased with that? I don't think so. Don't be afraid to go against the flow and pull your children out of there if you don't like what is going on. God will be pleased if you do. And your children will be better off for it.