USA (MNN) — Barna and other research indicates six in ten American young people leave their faith when they become adults. This is taking place in the lives of kids who not only attended church as kids, but were heavily involved in it. That's a huge concern for Awana Club International.
The President of Awana Clubs Jack Eggar says this is difficult for most Christian parents. "There's nothing that's heavier on the heart of a parent who knows the Lord then when that parent's son or daughter grows up and doesn't share the values in Christ — to walk away from the church, and then to have grandchildren who are going to be raised in a home where Jesus Christ is not central."
According to Eggar, Christians kids in America are in crisis because "the parents have long assumed that the church is where spiritual development takes place. And the church to some degree has participated in assuming that."
That's why Awana Clubs has started Project Joseph–a campaign to encourage parents and churches to partner together to raise a generation that knows, loves and serves Jesus Christ.
Awana has been instrumental is raising kids who stay in church. That's evidenced by a survey among Awana alumni. It finds almost 93-percent of those who attended Awana Clubs for more than six years are still attending church and are leaders in their churches."
Eggar says, "We not only teach kids theology, Bible basics, Bible stories, memorizing all the books of the Bible, but they learn the themes — the scarlet thread of redemption. We center on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
But they don't leave the kids as new babes in Christ; they disciple them. "We teach them to hide God's Word in their hearts. That's why we keep challenging them to learn more Biblical truth. And that's why today, more than ever before, we're getting parents involved."
Some progressive churches are even inviting parents of unchurched kids to stay at church. He says many of them are turning to Christ. As they do, they're being trained to disciple their kids. "The more we can get parents attached, involved, connected and committed to this cause, the greater will be the result and the product — a child who knows, loves and serves Jesus Christ."