Already Gone refers to young people sitting in churches who have already left in their hearts. When they are old enough, they will physically leave and probably not return. The church is not teaching them facts about the Bible or how to talk to someone who doesn't believe.
When a person doesn't know what they believe, they can't support an argument against God or the Bible. In many cases, churches supply an endless stream of entertainment, but are not equipping children to define and defend their faith.
Youth pastors, Sunday school teachers, and parents need to know the Bible themselves, so they can teach children the truths in the Bible. This is a book every parent and anyone working with children needs to read. I bought it for my own daughter, so her children will remain true to the Bible and to God.
ALREADY GONE discusses the issue of why our children and young adults are leaving the traditional churches. Ken Ham along with Brit Beemer and his data collecting organization have questioned one thousand young people all in their twenties, all from different backgrounds and church denominations, and different parts of the countries who have left the traditional church. The number one reason that this book states that our twenty something's are not coming to church is that the sermons are boring. Others feel that the bible and the church are not relevant to their lives or the times that we live in and that some these young people began to have doubts about God as early as elementary school.
I have attended the same church for over 25 years, and have seen some of these trends that the authors have pointed out in their research, but I have also learned that there are a number of different reasons that our young people are leaving. We do not live in the same world that we did five even ten years ago, our young people are addicted to technology. The media and public schools tells them that non-traditional marriages and abortions are alright. That the science "experts" know how the universe was formed and that the world can be a better place if we all just think positive. The church then for two hours tells them that God and the Bible are all they need to help them with their lives, but they don't tell them how to put this in practice or why it should be done.
But I also believe that the biggest thing working against the church is spiritual warfare. The enemy is whispering in our children's ear that God is not relevant to them in today's world. That God is not that important to their lives.
Some thoughts that the book pointed out and that I agree with are:
* Parents and grandparents need to pick up the ball and start teaching our children basic Christianity 101. We need to stop depending on Sunday school and the church to teach our children.
* We need to teach our children how to defend their faith.
* We can't assume that our children will come back to church when they "grow up" or have kids of their own. Clearly the research shows that that it not the case.
* Our young people don't understand God or faith. The first time God doesn't deliver something the way they want, they bail.
But I would like to add one thing that seemed to be missing within these pages: We need to start getting on our knees and praying for our children and grandchildren.
On the other side, I would like to point out that I felt that the author's main point was that if churches were to start teach Genesis in on an in depth level, and if we would use their website, our children would stop this seemingly mass exodus. I don't agree with this being the main reason that young people are leaving our churches. As I've said, the problem is bigger than just one solution. And each church is different. What may work for this church, will not work for that one.
Second it seems that they were teaching that the problem could be solved by human beings. Big problem in my mind, because God, Jesus and the Holy spirit need to be a big part of the solution.
Third, I also noticed there didn't seem to be any outside confirmation for their research. I don't doubt that their research, I just think that it's wise to have a second opinion.
Over all there was a lot I think that pastor's, teachers, youth leaders and ministry leaders could take away from this book.
Ken Ham and Britt Beemer have written a fantastic book explaining why your children will stop going to church. 'Two-thirds of the children in your church_will leave.'
We are facing an epidemic in America - it has already wiped out churches in Europe. Many churches in the UK have been turned into businesses or bars. I, myself have actually gone to a night club (many years ago)_that had been a church in Denver Colorado.
It is already happening!
Already Gone is a fantastic book that explains through well-researched statistics why children are leaving the church, their concerns about the church and more information you truly can not begin to imagine.
The research boils down to a few simple facts (in my opinion).
Parents are not raising their children for the Lord
Children are being raised by Public school officials and Sunday School Teachers
No one is teaching children the truth about the Bible
Children are not learning a Biblical Worldview and how to apply it to their lives
Why Does it Matter If We Believe the Book of Genesis
"Because we are teaching evolution and theistic evolution, are have unlocked a door that drives people away from the truth of God's word. My husband and I are perfect examples of this. We believed in God and Christ_.even though we may not have been fully involved in a church that taught the truth about God's salvation. BUT, once we began learning about evolution, we believed the Bible was some made up story_something to help you â€˜behave' well. It impacted my husband more than me (he'll tell you that_it's his words)_.and while he may have, I still had doubts. The more I have read about Creation, the more I have truly spent time with God and His word, the MORE I see and know the truth of his love, grace and mercy_and the truth that He did create this beautiful world_.and I love the way Ken Ham states this:
The door we've unlocked is the door to undermine biblical authority. We are really saying, "We want you to take God's Word as written according to literature and language in certain places - but not here at the beginning in Genesis." What we have actually done is made man the authority over God's Word. We have taught our children that they can take what they learn at school and can reinterpret the Bible's clear teaching in Genesis to supposedly fit this into the bible. By staying silent and not defending Genesis, we are "teaching" our children that we don't have to take God's Word as written, and man can reinterpret God's Word according to what the majority in the culture might believe.
Scripture teaches that if there is sin or compromise in one generation and it is not dealt with, it is usually observed to occur to a much greater extend in the next generation and so on. (pg 103-104)"
Intrigued? Good - time to buy the book and read it...
Did you quit church? Many have...this reveals why!
September 23, 2012
Do you go to church?
If not, have you ever gone to church in the past?
If that is the case, when and why did you stop?
There is an epidemic today of people who grew up in church but over the years have stopped going. Maybe you are one of them; maybe you know some of them. Either way, there is a reason for this epidemic and it needs to be uncovered and addressed head-on before it spreads to the point of no return.
In Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it, Ken Ham and Britt Beemer along with Todd Hillard scientifically research this issue and share not only the results but also dig deep into how to get to the heart of it and stop it.
Ken Ham and Britt Beemer also later teamed up for research, writing, and planning in Already Compromised, which I have reviewed as well. Please check out that review when you get a chance.
The Introduction to Already Gone briefly highlights the fact that Europe has overall become a land of abandoned and repurposed church buildings. Throughout the rest of the book we are reminded of how close America is to doing the same.
But the church isn't a building, right?
It is the Body of Christ...the people of Christ...right?
Yes, this is very true. (See Colossians 1:24 & Ephesians 5:29-30) But the place where that body congregates to learn, grow, fellowship together and encourage one another is suffering from a severe, quickly progressing epidemic. As Ham states regarding his and his family's move from Australia to America to be missionaries to America:
"The Bible calls the Church the 'Body of Christ.' Today, over 25 years after our move, the statistics prove that His body is bleeding profusely. The next generation of believers is draining from the churches, and it causes me great personal and professional concern. I've sat in the grand, but vacant churches of Europe. I know where this is headed. Where Europe is today spiritually, America will be tomorrow---and for the same reasons, if the Church does not recognize where the foundational problem lies and address it."
Ham enlisted Britt Beemer of America's Research Group to create, facilitate, and analyze a qualified study that would help to unearth the problem(s). To discover who was leaving, why they were, and what could be done to reverse the trend, the study focused on those who said they had attended church very frequently growing up but rarely if ever do now.
Is that YOU? Do you know that person?
Let me just say...you may think you know the answers to the why's and when's and who's, but I think you will be surprised to read what the statistical research unveiled. Such as:
- Many begin to leave as early as elementary and middle school (not just later in college).
- Sunday School is actually currently more harmful than helpful, not for lack of good intention...you really need to read the book for the in-depth explanation of that!
- Music style and amount is NOT the main reason they leave, nor what they say they miss most (and these were people from age 20-30 answering the surveys)---legalism, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and boredom were highly scored as reasons but poor music was very low.
- They miss worshiping God and they miss the pastor's teaching more than most other reasons given (again, including music).
- Many of them are still firm believers in God and His Word and most say that they don't attend because church is not relevant to them in that they do not feel closer to God there nor is it practical to them.
Those are just some of the results...the tip of the iceberg, really. You need to read this book to glean so much more from it. Excellent research with VERY practical application offered from it. I identified with much of what the results revealed.
Yes, I am one of those who left the church and came back!
Again, you may be, too...or at the very least you most likely know someone who is.
Ultimately, all in all, Ham and Beemer uncovered that, "Central to this study was the issue of belief. You simply can't explain the behavior without understanding the beliefs behind the behaviors. 'Belief' is invisible." but through intense, well-developed and executed studies like this one, belief and lack-thereof becomes tangible. At least it did for me.
Ham and Beemer help us recognize that we need to do a better job as parents, pastors, and believers in God to help people of all ages realize that "The Bible is not some 'pie in the sky' philosophical book. It's a real book that is really connected to the real world...God's Word stands by itself and doesn't need defending---that is true---but, practically, in this culture we are talking about answering the skeptical questions to uphold the Word and proclaim why we can believe in the Bible's life-giving historical and scientific authority."
According to Ham and Beemer, "We don't need a remodel; we need a complete renovation. We don't need a Band-Aid; we need radical surgery. It's time for a revolution; it's time for a new Reformation in the Church---to call the Church back to the authority of the Word of God, beginning in Genesis."
So, are you intrigued?
Are you uneasy because of the statement that
"your kids will quit church"?
Please don't let my review be the last you read of the study and revelations of this book, Already Gone.