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It's Sunday morning and you begin the same series of conversations, trying to figure out new, creative ways to get your teenager to church. Your kids have told you so many times that they don't want to go, they hate going, and they never get anything out of it. They have all kinds of excuses why they don't want to go or why they think they shouldn't have to go.

You, being a good parent and wanting to raise them in the right way, demand that they go no matter what. You don't know what else to do, but you figure if you can at least get them to church, maybe something good will sink in. You are taking the right action by making them go.

Understand The Reasons
Yet, is there a wiser way to accomplish the same objective, or even a bigger objective? Most people who drop out of church do so between 16 and 19 years of age. The top six main reasons are:
  1. Part-time jobs conflict with church life.
  2. They think church is irrelevant.
  3. They feel they don't fit in.
  4. Challenging church training programs usually cease or taper off at this age.
  5. Church activities are boring.
  6. They are going through a time of questioning and doubting.
Maybe you have felt relatively unsuccessful in conveying your faith, your beliefs, and your values to your young person. You are hoping that if you keep dragging them to church something will find its way into their heart.

There are many young people who say things like, "I really do love God, I just do not like the church. I don't like the people there. There are too many hypocrites." The list always goes on and on.

Standing In The Gap
Do you find yourself in the middle of that frustration? What are you to do? This should go without saying, but pray! Stand in the gap. Find scriptures to stand on.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
(Prov. 22:6)

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
(Josh. 24:15)

I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
(Joel 2:28)

All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children's peace.
(Isa. 54:13)
Pray those verses over your young person. Pray, "In Jesus' name, they are going to be a man or woman of God. Soften their heart, Lord." Pray that a passionate love for God will explode in their heart as the Lord becomes the center of everything they are.

Ask yourself, and do your best to discern from your teen, whether or not your young person really knows the Lord. The question is not really whether they like church or not, but do they really know the Lord?

Have they ever given their life to Jesus? Have they ever opened up their heart? Are they sold out to Him? A lot of us who have raised young people in church their whole lives just assume that it is so.

"They have always been a good person...They don't really get into trouble..." But do they really know the Lord? If they do not know the Lord, no wonder they think church and the Bible are boring. Don't just go and ask them, "Do you know the Lord?"

You'll Be Able To Tell…
Through a series of conversations you will be able to tell if the Lord is the center of their life. If He is not, fuel your prayer time praying for them that they would truly, genuinely surrender their entire life to the Lord.

Get them a Bible that is easy to understand. It is amazing how many young people have King James Version Bibles, or some other version they do not understand. I cannot tell you how many people I have talked to who tell me they read their Bible but it just doesn't make sense to them.

Ask yourself if the church you are going to is boring. Maybe not for you, but is it for your young person? This is a tough question, but if you really want your teen on fire, you need to answer it honestly. Maybe they are sincerely trying to get something out of it, but they can't because it's all geared toward an older congregation. Maybe the church is even boring to you, but the thought of leaving hasn't even crossed your mind.

You have been there so long, you know all the people, all your friends are there, or maybe you were raised in that church. It may be providing a great social outlet, but is your faith getting fed? Is it spiritually dry? Are you gaining wisdom each week to help you grow in the Lord? More importantly, is your young person being presented the Gospel in such a way that will help them to really grow in the Lord?

Do not take chances with your young person. They will only be young once. Do whatever it takes to get them in an environment that causes them to love going to church, love going to youth group, and love spending time in God's Word.

Don't Send The Wrong Message
Once you find a place where your teen loves to go, do not use it as punishment. Do not prohibit them from going if they do something wrong. There are plenty of other things you can take away from them, but don't take away any kind of spiritual activity.

You will be sending the wrong message to them if you do. You think you are accomplishing the desired results because you are taking something away that they really love. But do not take away anything that encourages their love for God or anything associated with their love for God and use that against them as a punishment.

Copyright © Teen Mania Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Ron Luce
Web site: Ron Luce
Ron Luce was the co-founder's and president of Teen Mania Ministries from 1986-2015. Ron and his wife Katie dreamed to raise up young people who would change the world.

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