A study by the Fuller Seminary determined that the most important factor in whether young people leave the church or remain steadfast in their faith was whether they have a safe haven to express their doubts and concerns regarding the Scriptures and their faith before leaving home. What is critical is that our youth have adults to provide them direction and guidance regarding the apprehensions they may have about their faith. Such a refuge is found in two places: in their parents and in their church youth ministry programs.

However, it also found that most church youth programs tended to focus their energies on providing entertainment and pizza rather focusing on building up the young people in their faith. As a result, our teens are ill-equipped to face the challenges they will encounter in the world upon leaving home.

The church needs to take a hard look its youth programs. Instead of performing for them with skits, bands and videos, we need to get back to teaching them the Scriptures with logic, truth and a Christian worldview. Frank Turek, well known Christian author and lecturer on apologetics, in addressing the problem of our youth falling away from the faith, put it this way: “We’ve failed to recognize that what we win them with . . . we win them to.”

The bottom-line is that Christian parents and our churches need to do a better job of developing their hearts with the Word of God and their minds as well (1 Peter 3:15; 2 Corinthians 10:5).