In various surveys, it has been found that 70-88% of young people will leave the church within 2-4 years after high-school.
2 Timothy 3:14-15 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom they thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Continuing or sticking with something is about the hardest thing you will ever do. If it was easy, especially for young Christians raised in church like Timothy, our churches would be busting out at the seams. Some 70-88% of evangelical young people end up leaving the church by the time they are age 18-22 according to different surveys. I would say it is pretty important that we put “continue”, or a willingness to stay with the church, into our children or they will be a statistic.
In the first part of I Timothy 3, Paul is letting Timothy know that they were living in bad times. There was all kinds of immorality going on, proud people were boasting , there were liars lying, and all kinds of other things. The bottom line was Timothy needed to stick by what he had learned in Sunday School all those years. He had memorized scripture. He knew it back and forth. He just needed to continue and not quit. Unfortunately, there are many young people who have learned Bible verses, heard good preaching, know what good preaching is, yet they do not continue. They have gone to more liberal churches, they have quit on God all together.
No Walk With God
I think the main reason young people don’t make it is they never figured out getting a walk with God. If their salvation never really affected their heart and they did not have a relationship with God, it is going to be hard for them to make it. The Puritans used to heavily emphasize a walk with God. They wrote a lot about it and tried to put it in their children. Having a walk with God is so important. You need to fellowship with him throughout the day. You need to read your Bible to get something. You need to strive to live holy. You need a prayer life. You need a heart that is willing to change. You need a walk with God.
Being an Example
The best thing adults can do is be an example. We need live a life worth emulating like Paul did for Timothy. He had something that Timothy desired. There was definitely something in Timothy too that desired to be close to the man of God. He wanted to learn. He wanted what his mom and grandmother had. Timothy grew up in a broken home too. It does not appear his dad was saved. Yet Timothy made it. He had a walk with God. He emulated the examples he had.
The Church of the Future
Timothy was told to continue in the things he learned because of “whom” he had learned them from. It was his mom and grandmother. He had a tradition to carry on. He had a goodly heritage. He needed to put that in his children and his grandchildren too. Paul was trying to show that the church needed families that were multi-generational in both directions. Our young people need to continue on because they are the church of the future. The core of the church is the kids raised in church with godly values. These young people need to grow. The best way to grow a church is the nursery. The nursery needs young married couples. Those couples need to continue. That is the church of the future.