tell me,” I asked, “why do you want to move your church
toward a family ministry model?”
The two ministry leaders I’d met with at the coffee shop were
sincere, good people. Both were passionate about the gospel and
faithful to Scripture. Their church had asked me to help them
minister more effectively to families.
“Well,” the pastor said, “nine out of 10 kids drop out
of church after they graduate. Evidently, what we’re doing isn’t
“Mm-hmm,” the children’s director agreed. “We just
want to do so much better than that.“
“Is your church actually
losing that many?” I asked.
They looked at each other before shrugging.
“I don’t really know,” the pastor replied. “We don’t
see them after they graduate. Sometimes that’s because they’re
involved in another church, I guess.“
The children’s director continued, “If we had programs to teach
parents how to grow their kids spiritually, we could stop the
“I’ll do everything I can to help your church,” I said.
“But first, let’s rethink your reasons for considering these
changes-because the problem you think is the problem is probably
not the problem at all.“
Here’s why these two ministry leaders-and scores of others like
them-need to rethink their motivations: The nine-out-of-10
dropout number isn’t true. It was never true, yet many church
leaders still believe it. Take a trip with me to the
origins of this statistic and why it’s long past time to lay this
lie to rest.