Book Review: Why They Stay


I’m grateful to Aaron Williams for sharing Why They Stay, by Dr. Steve Parr and Dr. Tom Crites, with me.  Aaron said that his Sunday School had recently studied this book and thought I might find it interesting in my role investing in the battle for the hearts and minds of students.  This book is a quick read with lots of Scripture and just the right balance of respected statistics to make the point that it is the responsibility of parents and church leaders (and I’d add… Christian School leaders) to help keep children and teenagers connected to the church for a lifetime.

  • We have to place our faith in the only One who is trustworthy.  We must pray that the Lord will guide our transitions and use us to glorify His name.
  • There is a strong desire today for authentic community.
  • “We must not hide them rom their children, but must tell a future generation the praises of the Lord, His might, and the wonderful works He has performed.”  Psalm 78:4 HCSB
  • The study by Kinnaman and the Barna group revealed several positive relationships between a healthy youth ministry experience and the likelihood that someone who grew up in church stayed when they became adults.
  • You have to be intentional to plan opportunities for children to clearly hear the gospel.
  • Don’t be discouraged when you get discouraged.
  • “Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” Hebrews 12:7-8 HCSB
  • Sit together in “big church”.
  • How do you integrate children into the primary worship experience at your church?
  • “Then children were brought to Him so He might put His hands on them and pray. But the disciples rebuked them. Then Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to Me, because the kingdom of heaven is made up of people like this.” After putting His hands on them, He went on from there.” Matthew 19:13-15 HCSB
  • Churches must seek to provide discipleship and Bible study opportunities for everyone in every life stage.

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