[The following article originally appeared in the Dec. 16, 2009 issue of BALedger.com, the website of the Broken Arrow Ledger.]

Some churches suffering loss of attendance.

By Lucienda Denson, Lifestyle Editor

“Nationwide polls and denominational reports are showing that the next generation is calling it quits on the traditional church. And it’s not just happening on the nominal fringe; it’s happening at the core of the faith.”

That’s the opening paragraph in a press release promoting a new book, “Already Gone,” by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer, with Todd Hillard.

Nick Garland, pastor of First Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, considers the findings so on target, the church recently hosted an “Answers in Genesis” conference led by Ham.

During the conference, Garland asked those in attendance to have a small group prayer that young adults at First Baptist would not be among the two-thirds who are “already gone” from the church.

Two-thirds of young adults who have grown up in evangelical churches are leaving, according to Ham and Beemer.

Information in the book is based on data collected from 20,000 phone calls and detailed surveys of 1,000 20-to-29-year-olds who used to attend evangelical churches on a regular basis but have since left them behind.

Garland compared what is happening in 21st century evangelical churches to Martin Luther’s Reformation in 1517 that created protestant churches and the creation of the Puritans who separated themselves from the Church of England.

“This is a literal re-shaping of the church the way it has been for the past 400 or 500 years,” Garland said.

“They (young people) have written church off as a moralistic bad guy that wants to keep them from enjoying their life. You don’t have to have a passport to find them; they are on every street in the city,” he said. And they’re not just young adults. Separation is beginning as early as middle school.

Young people no longer believe in Genesis, which is the basis for Christianity, Garland said. They question everything from creation to the divinity of Christ, and for that he credits laws that require the evolution theory be taught in public school classrooms and ban instruction on Biblical creation.

Nancy Mabry, youth director at St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church, agrees that evangelical churches are losing twenty-somethings, but she credits a reluctance to make any sort of commitment as the underlying cause.

If young people can’t commit to a skating party on Sunday evening until Sunday morning, they’re going to have difficulty making long-term commitments to anything else, Mabry said.

When she was in her 20s, she said “If you didn’t have a fever, you went to church. Some people say they don’t come to church because Sunday is the only day they have to spend with family. Why don’t they spend it with their family in church? Now, church is an option,” Mabry said.

There is an exception, however, according to Mabry. Traditional churches that are liturgical churches and smaller evangelical churches seem to be retaining their twenty-something members in greater numbers than larger and mega-churches.

The Rev. John Wilke, senior pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, has read the book and said he found it to be a fascinating study.

He cited one of Luther’s writings as something for church leaders to consider: “A faith that costs nothing and demands nothing is worth nothing.”

“I think that is where the church is today. I get too many things in the mail from churches that say, ‘Come just the way you are, you don’t have to change,’” Wilke said.

“While God loves you where you are, he expects you to change. We don’t put the fear of God in our churches, we don’t have that respect. We’ve made Jesus our homeboy. He’s not our homeboy, he’s our Saviour.”

Wilke said the only church he knows of that is experiencing growth in the 20-to-29-year old age group is the Greek Orthodox Church.

“The Greek Orthodox Church is a liturgical church. Kids want to return to something different from what they get from the world. If we want to reach these kids again, we are going to have to return to what the early church was doing. We need to raise the bar,” he said.

Wilke would endorse a movement to extend confirmation study to two years, so members fully understand the doctrine of the church they are joining, and that God is bigger than they are.

“God isn’t a vending machine of good gifts. This (joining the church) will not be the easiest thing you have done,” Wilke said.

The Rev. Shelby Scott, pastor of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, said the 20-to-29-year-olds are holding steady at St. Patrick’s. One of Scott’s sons is in that age group.

“There is sort of a strange rebound in some of the ancient liturgies, such as Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Episcopalian. What we would call the emerging church is something that is very appealing to that age group. Places that have a sense of order, mystery and transcendence are very appealing.

“Those are the areas that are growing. I am seeing a slight uptake here of people of that age,” Scott said.

“I think there is a hunger where entertainment is the approach to worship. It doesn’t really satisfy. I think there is a richness in the ancient traditions that speaks at levels where contemporary music fails. My experience is different than what you’re seeing in the ‘already gone’ people.”

Scott agrees with Garland that Christian worship is going through a significant change. He believes young people are looking for a doctrine that requires more of them than just showing up at church.

“The pendulum is swinging back. What previously had been discredited –  traditional liturgies and such things as incense and mystery – has become something of a strength and intrigue for the younger generation,” he said.

[Already Gone is published by Master Books.]

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[The following post was originally published in Ken Ham’s personal blog, “Around the World with Ken Ham.” Ken is the founder and president of Answers in Genesis and the author of numerous books, including  Already Gone published byMaster Books.]

Here is the press release sent out this week about our new Dinosaurs for Kidsbook:

image003New ‘Dinosaurs for Kids’ from Ken Ham Wows Kids and Parents Alike

PETERSBURG, Ky., Nov. 18, 2009 – While there is no lack of colorfully illustrated books about dinosaurs for children, by and large these books talk about how many millions of years ago the dinosaurs lived, and how many billions of years old the Earth is. Many creationist parents have largely been stuck supplying these books for their dinosaur-loving children while cautioning them against the evolutionary teaching within.

Not any more, as Ken Ham, president and founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, has just released “Dinosaurs for Kids” through Master Books, with all the great illustrations those other books have, but written from a biblical worldview.

“As a parent, and now as a grandparent, I saw my children’s and grandchildren’s fascination with dinosaurs and their desire to read every book about dinosaurs they could get their hands on,” Ham said. “Inevitably, we were all disappointed by the teaching of millions and billions of years, the claim that dinosaurs evolved into birds, and the humanistic world view presented in them.

“I determined, as a writer of creationist and apologetics materials – for both adults and children – that I would help remedy the dinosaur book situation,” Ham continued. “I couldn’t be more pleased with how the book turned out.  Wonderfully and powerfully illustrated by Bill Looney, this book will not disappoint Christian parents and their children.”

“Dinosaurs for Kids” will help to fill a void of creation-based science books for elementary age children, which has been a contributing factor to young people leaving the church as they get older. Research commissioned by Answers in Genesis and conducted recently by America’s Research Group (ARG) showed that – by and large – children are “already gone” from church in their minds by junior high and high school, because Sunday school could not answer their hard questions about origins and the trustworthiness of Scriptures.

The results from this survey were published in the book “Already Gone,” co-written by Ken Ham and ARG Founder and President Britt Beemer.  The book has been selling steadily since its release in late May, with more than 90,000 copies in print, and has inspired influential churches and church leaders across the nation to re-think how they are conducting church and Sunday school.  Dr. Charles Stanley, pastor of First Baptist Atlanta, has just written an endorsement of the book’s next edition; last month he had Ken Ham give a message based on the book at the church’s morning worship services.

The decay regarding young people often begins, Ham and Beemer discovered, with a lack of faith in the creation story of Genesis. Children tend to separate the “stories” of the Bible from the “hard facts” taught in almost all public schools about evolution and the age of the Earth. They look to their secular textbooks for answers, not the Bible.

Now, with the release of “Dinosaurs for Kids,” parents and teachers alike will have a new resource for helping children understand their beliefs about origins in a scientific context. These kids can once again embrace their love of dinosaurs, and their teachers and parents can encourage those discussions in a biblical context.

“Dinosaurs for Kids” includes full-color illustrations throughout, with an easy-to-understand timeline of dinosaurs’ true history from creation to the most recent discoveries—and convincing evidence that they did not die out 65 million years ago. It explains how the Flood affected the dinosaurs, when and where dinosaurs existed, how fossils like dinosaur skeletons are made, and why they are found all over the Earth. A recurring theme is the difference between biblical history (God’s revelation) and  assumptions by fallible secular scientists.

Recommended for ages 7-12, the 64-page, hard cover, 8 ½ by 11 book retails for $14.99. Published by Master Books, “Dinosaurs for Kids” is available at Christian bookstores everywhere, or online http://www.answersingenesis.org.

The following post was originally published by The Christian Worldview with David Wheaton as a 2-part radio interview. Links to both parts of the interview are below. Part 1 was aired Oct. 17, 2009, and Part 2 was aired Oct. 24, 2009.

Ken Ham is the founder and president of Answers in Genesis and the author of numerous books, including  Already Gone published by Master Books. In 2009 he co-authored Already Gone with Britt Beemer, president of America’s Research Group.

The book is now in its 5th printing, with more than 75,000 copies sold.

[The following review is by Kyle McDanell, pastor of Goshen Bible Church in Kentucky.]

Recently a representative from Answers in Genesis came to our county and gave a series of talks on creation, evolution and culture. The three talks were very good and I especially enjoyed, and learned a lot from, the talk on fossils. At the mini-conference someone picked up Ken Ham (founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum) and Britt Beamer’s new book called, “Already Gone: Why Your Kids Will Quit Church And What You Can Do to Stop It.” The book is centered on a poll taken of a thousand young people who left the church after high school and seeks to give the reasons why and how the church can fight against this growing trend.

The truth is, a far majority of students that grow up or are involved at some point in their teenage years end up leaving the church after high school. The statistics the book reports are at times surprising. For example, the survey suggests that there is a great percentage of students that grew up attending Sunday School who end up leaving the church than those who only attended the worship service. This is rather shocking to say the least!

The authors see the integrity and authority of God to be under attack in our culture today. And I believe they are right. Their perspective is the attack made on Genesis and the creation account. The authors rightly point out that churches have more than willingly obliged to the attacks made on Scripture without defending God’s Word. As a result, the Bible is presented as a book of stories rather than history, truth, and authority. As a result, our students learn stories, but do not learn truth. It is tempting to say that just because one doubts the historicity of Noah’s Ark or the creation account doesn’t mean that one can’t be a good Christian. It is possible, certainly. But the slippery slide one finds themselves on is very dangerous. If God’s Word can’t be trusted in Genesis (or anywhere else for that matter) then why should we trust it regarding everything else?

Overall, this is a good book that should challenge us all. The authors point out that the answer to keeping our young people is not changing the music or dressing differently, but to share the gospel and preach God’s Word unashamedly. They are right in saying that we live in a post-Christian culture and we need to learn how to reach such a culture.

[The following post is by Britt Beemer, founder and president of America’s Research Group. Britt is also the co-author Already Gone published by Master Books. Britt and his family recently returned from a holiday in London.]

The most surprising experience from our London trip was seeing Charles Darwin’s tomb in Westminster Abbey.  When I asked a Church leader, he said, “Darwin was a Christian and the Church now accepts his beliefs!”

I further learned there are very few active members of this Church/Abbey, and on most Sundays they have less than 300 attending their services.  The only way they can afford to operate the Church is by charging tourists like me 30 British pounds for a family of four.  The Church has become a historical building, getting thousands of tourists each month walking through its wide expanse like any large museum.  It’s sad that a once proud building with hundreds of parishioners is now a tourist site.

When you abandon God’s Word, He cannot honor your ministry and now you just show a group of tourists a Christian museum.

It’s a sad state of affairs that the leading proponent of evolution is considered a teacher within the Church and God’s Word is abandoned for a man’s unsubstantiated theory that we evolved from ape-like creatures.

My favorite line from the Church leader was, “You know we don’t get any funding from the government, so there’s no way we could support the Church without all the money from charging tourists.”

I replied, “God’s treasury would be sufficient if you truly followed His Word and taught all the teachings from the Bible.”

His response, “I just doubt it.”

Over half the churches in England are in spiritual decay and physical decay.  The spiritual decay came first and the physical decay followed.  When you start replacing God’s Word with man’s theory, where will it end?  The church there is in decay because there is no truth.

If man evolved from apes, there would be no Garden of Eden, there would be no Original Sin, there would be no reason for Christ to come into the world, and the Bible would be just another book.

Darwin may physically be buried at Westminster Abbey, but I believe his soul is not in a heavenly place today.

[The following post was originally published in Ken Ham’s personal blog, “Around the World with Ken Ham.” Ken is the founder and president of Answers in Genesis and the author of numerous books, including Already Gone published by Master Books.[

Our book, Already Gone, has quickly become a bestseller. A typical response we are seeing from pastors is similar to what this pastor wrote to the leaders in his church:

Recently several of us have read Already Gone, a powerful and challenging book by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer. The subject is “Why our kids are quitting church and how we can get them back.” Soon a copy of this book will be made available to our Sunday school teachers and deacons without charge, and I believe it will be a tremendous help to all of us in understanding why so many young people brought up in church eventually leave it behind, and what we, as leaders, can do to prevent it.

This book has the potential, if the Lord so allows and blesses, to have a tremendous impact on the church (and the church of course to have an impact on the culture).

You can purchase this book in single copies or discounted in packs of 10 or case lots of 48 from AiG’s online bookstore.

Prepare to believe.

June 23, 2009

State of the Nation webcast

State of the Nation webcast

Ken Ham and Britt Beemer, authors of newly released Already Gone, will present powerful new research on the reasons behind the collapse of Christianity in the western world on Thursday, June 25, at 8 PM at the Creation Museum, 2800 Bullitsburg Church Road, Petersburg, Kentucky.

Answers in Genesis Creation Museum

Answers in Genesis Creation Museum

Attendance is limited to the first 150 Museum Members and Passholders making reservations (required). To guarantee your seat, call Customer Service at 800-778-3390.

Already Gone is published by Master Books.