The Billy Graham Association conducted a survey recently and the results should be disheartening to Christians. Of people in the Builder Generation, also known as the Greatest Generation, 65% profess to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. But the slide is steep from there. About 35% of Baby Boomers profess faith in Christ, 15% of Generation X, and only 4% of Generation Y.
Why the dramatic drop? According to the 2000 census, the majority of children at that time came from single or blended families. Jim Weidmann, executive director of Heritage Builders, said this causes a society in which people don’t have good faith mentors in their lives, so they don’t know how to model faith to their children.
…Weidmann said one surefire way to stop the hemorrhage of faith in Christ in this nation is for men to take on their God-given duty and become spiritual leaders in their homes… Source
So, summed up, he says:
> Every generation has less Christians than the previous one.
> The reason is because most kids grow up in single mother homes or in stepfamilies.
> If fathers become spiritual leaders of their own homes, the decrease will stop.
His solution would not work. If children grow up with their mothers and not their fathers, the father becoming a spiritual leader of his now child-less home far from his children will not solve this problem.
Even if the church widen their definition of father, and turn stepfathers into men so motivated to spiritually lead, that they lead/ inspire even the wife’s kids to follow Christ, then stepfamilies still has a greater break-up rate than natural families – and the family may be left leaderless again.
The solution to not just stop the bleeding, but to get new members? Stop talking only to husbands to how to market spiritually to their families. If you speak only to husbands on leading, you may keep the husbands, their wives and their children in the church, but your message misses many people. You miss the non-yet-married men and women, the divorced-and-alone men with nobody to follow their lead, the divorced mother who has her hands full with her children, the man who is ready to hear the gospel message but not to spiritually lead (you don’t expect men to spiritually lead the hour after conversion, do you?), and the child of unbelieving parents who may love a good children’s church or Sunday School even if he or she have to attend alone.
Putting up the man as home priest may have kept women and children in church (though arguably not spirit filled and spirit led) with their men when almost all families were still intact. But this kills the church in an era of late marriage, easy divorce and many out-of-wedlock children. Learn to market the church to all believers, not just fathers. Teach every Christian – eight years or eighty, male or female, single or with large families – to love God, seek out appropriate guidance, and take responsibility for their own spiritual walk.
You cannot trust dads to market the church these days. In modern family life, dads are pretty likely to not be around any more.