This story was actually reported back in 2009:
Who, when they were 7-years-old, had not thought of stealing a car to skip church?
OK, probably not a lot of people, but this young Utah boy took the song lyrics “Bad boy bad boy, what you gonna do, what you gonna do when they come for you,” to heart just a bit too seriously.
The 7-year-old stole his dad’s car to skip church this weekend and drove it 45 mph right back home with the police right behind him.
“His speed was slow, but erratically; and so he would kind of scoot down lower to push on the gas and kinda sit up on the seat more to see right where he was going,“ said Weber County sheriff’s Lt. Matthew Bell.
“People in the neighborhood are talking about this,“ he added.
Does this sound like something your child would do?
In 2011, Barna Research reported that nearly 60% of kids disconnect either permanently or for an extended period of time from church life after age 15. At least lil’ man kept it real and decided to not play the church-game for 8 more years I guess.
But why are kids leaving church? Here are the reasons discovered by Barna Research:
Reason #1 – Churches seem overprotective.
Reason #2 – Teens’ and twentysomethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow.
Reason #3 – Churches come across as antagonistic to science.
Reason #4 – Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental.
Reason #5 – They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity.
Reason #6 – The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt.
For an explanation of each reason and more, please see the article here.
I’ve taught a small kid’s group at church with a congregation of less than 20, but we had 8-10 in the class. I’ve taught a youth group that had a congregation of hundreds, but a youth group of about 20. Kids simply disappeared and never came to class, wandered the hallways, or left the building all together. Parents had no clue where their kids were at while they were in service.
Would this be tolerated in school Monday-Friday? I think not, but it would be on Sunday, and we wonder why our kids leave church as soon as they are old enough to have “something else going on”?
Did I mention sports? You know, how church-folk, will pull the kids out of church to go play ball on Sunday? Now I’m not trying to be legalistic, but can we just have at least one day for worship AND family time?
Many youngsters leave church (they may not be desperate enough to do what young-fella did above) because they are not actually Christians, we as parents set bad examples as we “wear” Christianity on Sunday but not Monday through Saturday, or because we barely go ourselves.
The lesson I’d like to share is one from my dad. You are a family. You worship as a family. And just because you’re in this family, doesn’t mean you’re in God’s family. As my mom used to say, “You cannot grab on to my heels when I’m going up to heaven!”
Church helps give our kids a moral compass (the Word of God). Show them that going to church doesn’t make them a Christian any more than standing in the garage makes them a car. Just like that ball field that’s also calling them, it brings us together with like-minded people. A people with shared values, a similar worldview, and hopefully a love for one another. Of course learning doctrine, instruction and even discipline is a part of church as well, and there’s much more.
On that note, maybe the kid was trying to get away from a church teaching heresy? In that case, “run Forest, run!” and the youngster may be more discerning that the adults around him!