tl;dr - We are committed to building an environment where kids learn the essentials of the faith and how to worship, and are free to ask questions. We are committed to teaching parents and helping them live with the kind of authenticity that children follow. We are committed to being there for one another in all the ups and downs of life, marriage, and parenting because that's what it means to love people.
Why are kids growing up and leaving the church?
Poor View of Parents' Faith
Lack of Connection to the Church
Lack of Knolwedge
They Have a Poor View of Their Parents' Faith
Study after study has shown that, by far, the greatest predictor of whether or not a kid will stay in the church into adulthood is the authenticity of their parents' faith. Kids need to see that the Christian faith impacts their parents' lives in meaningful ways - and not just on Sunday. We believe part of the church's job is to prepare and equip parents to raise their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Parents need to be fed by the preaching, engaged by the worship, and connected to other believers. When their kids and teens ask us questions, they need to feel like we have answers for them that we actually believe are true.
They Feel a Lack of Connection to the Church
Jesus never treated children as second-class citizens, but often times churches sure can - even unintentionally. Wanting to entertain kids and keep them interested, churches too often fail to teach children the language, importance, and value of worship. Kids and teens may feel connected to their same-age peers, but they don't know what it's like to stand side-by-side with an adult who knows them and really cares for them in worship. We believe children are to be included in worship in every way possible. We encourage them to ask questions, to participate as they're able, and to get to know the body of Christ. Just because a kid is doodling or playing with a toy, it doesn't mean they aren't listening.
They Lack Knowledge About What Christianity Is
In a true indictment against all of us in the church, Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research conducted a survey in 2015 that revealed some terrifying data about our kids. They asked self-professing Christians to respond to a series of statements related to classic, historic Christian doctrine. In every answer offered related to these theological beliefs, young people between the ages of 18 and 34 consistently held heretical views at a higher percentage than older respondents. This means that many of the churched kids growing up to leave the church aren't actually leaving Christianity - they never really knew Christianity. The youth group and children's ministry programs of the 90s and 00s did not work, so we are eager to try something else.