For those of you who have endured the litany of anti-Santa Claus posts throughout the month of December, thank you. Whether you agree or disagree with what has been written, thanks for reading and thanks for commenting. I wanted to take a moment to assure you I am not Claus-trophobic.
And the intent of the December posts was not to question the folklore and tradition of Santa Claus as exercised in the world and outside of the family of faith. The intent was to question the observance of the Santa Claus traditions within the church family.
A number of people have taken the time to share how as children they observed the Santa tradition with absolutely no long term effect upon their walk of faith. Praise God!!! And that is indeed an excellent point … if a belief in Santa Claus at a young age had no negative impact on your faith into adulthood … then ‘No harm, no foul!’
Praise God for the testimonies of those who continue to walk in faith until this day.
So what would be an acceptable percentage of kids who start out in church and continue to walk with Christ Jesus right into adulthood?
100% seems a bit unreasonable (yet NOT impossible where God is concerned).
90% would still warrant a grade of A … but statistics prove that’s not what we’re hitting either.
How about 80%? Nope, missed that too!
70%, 60%, 50%, 40%, 30%? Sorry …
What if I told you a good faith retention ratio as adults for children raised in the church is somewhat like a median batting average in professional baseball?
Did you know that over 2 million teens, youth, and young adults from Christian families are leaving the church each year, never to return?
Your children and your friends’ eternal destinies are at stake. According to Barna Research and other organizations, the church is permanently losing between 75 and 94 percent of its children by their second year of college. Only 9 percent of all born-again Christians have a biblical worldview; that means that your child and their friends have less than a 10 percent chance of having a biblical worldview in the future. Even more shocking is the recent finding that less than .5% of young adults age 18 to 23 have a biblical worldview. In other words, if you stand in a room with 200 young adults, only one of them will have a biblical worldview!
Assuming that only 75 percent of all youth are leaving, this translates into more than 2 million children in America each year who are permanently leaving the church and over 40 million lost in the last two decades. If we do nothing to address this situation, by the year 2050 we will lose another 113 million children!
SURVEY SAYS … of children who are raised in the church today … only 6 to 25% continue to stay in church and walk in their faith by the time they reach their second year of college. The other 75 to 94% have left the church permanently … perhaps that might be a bit more jolting if instead we said … ‘have left the church eternally.’
With a retention rate of 6 to 25% for church kids, we might want to examine what we are teaching our children in homes, churches and schools. In no way am I suggesting that a practice and belief in Santa Claus is the main or even a primary contributor to the fallout rate. But without a doubt, I believe it is one of the key contributors.
So you made it through my December onslaught of anti-Santa post. Congratulations!!!
One final two-part question for your consideration …
If 75 to 94% of children raised in church no longer believe IN Christ when they are young adults, do they continue to celebrate Christmas? And if so, what exactly are they celebrating?
Note: This post was originally posted three years ago in late-December 2010.