The Church is very actively pursuing programs. In many of the leadership emails that I receive daily and even paper magazines I read monthly – programs are the big thing. And, there is always the latest and the newest program that a local church can adopt to grow their numbers and build their impact and influence. However, in my mind going through programs does not accomplish much unless a person learns to live out a Christlike life everyday. In other words – I think we need less programs and more of a focus on process.
This process would recognize that we need to come to know God for who He is and would involve responding to Him by living and being true disciples of Jesus Christ in our daily lives. It would involve constant application of the faith and not simply more information – transformation would be the goal.
However, moving away from programs for program’s sake and adopting a PROCESS-DRIVEN model will be a challenge for many because it will require the abandonment of what some consider sacred – the “Structural Church” that is primarily concerned with conducting events to a spectator audience.
Instead, we will encourage the embracing of a “Missional Church” that is focused on re-establishing a process of becoming more and more like Christ. This will mean a shaking of much of what we know about Christianity, truth, and the Church and rediscovering what the Bible really says about the faith and the Founder of that faith that we follow. I believe that unless this journey and resulting transformation happens we will see a continued and steady decline in the influence and impact of the Church in many of our nations.
In North America where the “Structural Church” is strongest it is estimated less than 30% of our youth who were brought up in the Church as we know it today believe that the church should play a role in their lives when they leave their parent’s home. Many denominational leaders have estimated that between 69% and 94% of their young people are leaving the “Structured Church” after high school – AND VERY FEW ARE RETURNING.
For 20+ years the Nehemiah Institute in Lexington, Kentucky, has been offering Christian schools what is called PEERS testing. This is to identify a young person’s views in five areas: Politics, Economics, Education, Religion, and Social issues (PEERS). The test is framed to grade a student according to one of four worldviews – Biblical Theism, Moderate Christian, Secular Humanism, and Socialism.
The Nehemiah Institute has offered a valuable service in providing a type of testing to over 20,000 students from 1,000 different schools (see www.NehemiahInstitute.com). Christian parents have also tested their young people who attend public schools. The results are in: 85% of youth from Christian homes that attend public schools do not embrace a biblical worldview.
But, what of students in Christian schools? While these students scored slightly higher than their counterparts attending public schools, only 6% of students from Christian schools embraced a Biblical Theism Worldview. We have, for all intents and purposes, lost our children to a godless culture.
But, this is not to say that our young people are rebelling against God….more on this tomorrow