“Don’t Drop That Baton!”
It’s hard to miss this ugly, dramatic pronouncement in glossy,
related periodicals everywhere, but George Barna’s stats proclaiming that an
average 70% of teens will leave the church after high school graduation
honestly don’t scare me.
I birthed five strong-willed, independent-thinking young men, beginning with myfirstborn in 1984. After over a quarter-century of investing my life in their spiritualdevelopment, while also home educating them and serving local, national, andinternational churches as a full-
time pastor’s wife and trans
local leader, I’ve learned
a whole lot about transferring the baton to the next generation.Home educators have an edge. We have the benefit of access to our children 24/7,to lead by example and to influence powerfully, primarily because we have
theluxuries of time
. Yes, as a homeschooling mom, my thoughts oftenhave been occupied with pencils, papers, co-ops and curriculum, but
my overridingmission and passion
has always been more about imparting my
to my fivesons than simply executing my academic agenda.
The average Christian parent doesn’t get to see his school
-aged child for seven toten hours of each weekday, because during those hours children are on the way toschool,
or on the way home from school. That same child spends about asmuch time in his bed at night, sleeping. The hours left for meaningful parent-childinteraction are not only few, but they also are chock-full of stressed carpools,debriefing, dinner prep, chores, homework, and assorted extracurricular activities.The fact is, formal schooling holds families hostage to a system that dominates theirdays, nights, and weekends. Within that system, only crumbs of time are left fordiscipleship.
Worse yet, while the vice of academia grips these vulnerable kids in its jaws, theyare likely to be exposed to all manner of negative influences during their countless
hours on campus. In public schools it’s no secret that their course of study will be
permeated with secular humanistic philosophy, while at the same time they could bedodging bullets, bullies,
blatant sexual perversity,
peer pressure, and ruthless
cliques, to name a few of the dangers they could encounter daily. And let’s be
honest, private schools
won’t guarantee a child exemption from such hazards.
On weekends if there’s time after soccer, hockey, dance, and football, this same
parent will drop his children off to attend church programs designed to save themfrom the deplorable indoctrination experienced while engaged in their educational
institution. Kinda crazy, wouldn’t you say?
One local church in our metro area recently upgraded its children’s ministry facilities,
at a cost of $400,000, with elaborate décor, Wii games, basketball, air hockey, andother age-appropriate amusements.
These folks are serious about impacting theyouth in their city, but in my decades of experience, I have learned that providingmyriad special youth nights and extravagant parades of pleasure for teens inoutreach e
ndeavors doesn’t keep the teen sheep in the fold. Institutions will not save