Vital information for pastors, leaders, and parents!

There’s been a lot written and polls conducted about why young people are leaving the church in droves. But we felt it important for you to see and hear their reasons firsthand. Most of the time, when people see these percentages in print, they think, “Surely, these don’t apply to my congregation or my children!" However, as CMI can vouch from doing over 1200 presentations per year in churches around the world, this is a phenomenon that is occurring in most of our churches. So, what can we do about it?

From their own mouths

Watching Fallout! is a great place to start. In this short but powerful presentation, CMI conducted interviews with students on university campuses. What you see are the actual results—a representative sampling of their responses. There was no selective editing. And the pattern we found demonstrates the importance of training young people with a defense of biblical creation.

The pattern was no coincidence

Our interviews show unequivocally that the majority of young people who were not exposed to creation teaching in their youth now embrace evolution and no longer attend church. Yet, every student we spoke to who was equipped with answers as a young person still retains their Christian convictions, in spite of the evolutionary teaching they received in higher education. Better still, every single student we spoke to who affirmed biblical creation still attends church regularly.

Fallout! is also a great evangelistic tool as it shows there are answers to students’ questions.

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Give them away to your pastors, leaders, or those who think creation is a side issue!

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Treating the problem, not the symptoms

Many have responded to the youth exodus by trying to attract students with entertainment, games, and music. But these ‘solutions’ misdiagnose the problem. While such programs many initially attract, they don’t retain people for the long term. As our 30-minute DVD, Fallout!, shows, it is the intellectual challenges that are not being properly addressed. So, if we want to reach our young people, we need to answer their questions—the very questions they will get during higher education. This will help them to see that the Bible’s history is true, beginning in Genesis, which is the foundational book for the Christian faith itself.

CMI’s ministry directly addresses these questions

CMI can help to equip your church, and help prevent the loss of youth. Students need to learn the answers to the objections the world will bring to their doorstep, but they need the support of the whole church. And, we know from experience that inviting a creation speaker to your church to create awareness is the best way to inform the whole congregation and motivate them to address this problem. Have you ever considered bringing a CMI speaker to your church? Let us help you to transform your youth, and indeed your whole church, and give them a more confident Christianity.

Request a speaker today!

It's as easy as 1, 2, 3. And we don’t even charge a set speaking fee.

Mary H. wrote:

“My package (with 100 Fallout! DVDs in it) arrived on Friday! I picked it up at the post office (I had called and asked them to hold it) on my way to the county fair. I wrote the website of our local creation science group on the envelope and handed out about 40 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They were well received.
“Several people agreed that kids leaving the church is a problem. One woman sadly mentioned that she was trying to get her adult son to come back to church. I explained the role evolution and creation teaching played and gave her a copy of the DVD.”

Readers’ comments

Gary Y.
Keaton, in reading your response I think you misunderstood my comment. Of course, it's every Christian parent's responsibility to train up their child on how to understand Science from a Creationist and Biblical standpoint but the problem as I mentioned is far too many parents are not living for Christ and therefore obviously won't take that responsibility seriously. So it's a spiritual issue before it's an intellectual one, on the parent's part first, and then their children. Thanks,
Keaton Halley
Thanks for the clarification, but I think I do understand. There are many complex reasons people walk away from their Christian upbringing, and we're not denying that. Sometimes parents don't offer their children a good example of what a faithful walk with the Lord looks like. But in other cases, their children leave even if they do. And complete faithfulness includes training up a child as the Bible instructs. So I was simply trying to steer things back to the point the Fallout! project is making. Both faithful obedience to Christ and proper training are critical if we want to see our faith passed on to the next generation.
Gary Y.
Having been heavily involved with promoting Creationism (serving as Chairman for AIG and ICR seminars, teaching, etc.) I can readily attest to this being the leading intellectual assault on young people. Without a doubt Evolutionary teaching seriously undermines one’s faith and trust in the Scriptures. However, my brother, a Wycliffe missionary to Peru, had asked his church’s youth pastor his view about the problem of why evangelical young people are abandoning their faith in Christ and the Bible. His response was something to take special note of. The youth pastor stated that many Christian young people are not seeing Christ in their parents. I assume that to mean there is little substance regarding the faith of many Christian parents whose focus is more on this world rather than a total commitment to Christ. Without being strongly anchored to God’s Word, and/or, not having a relationship to Christ, this would then help explain the vulnerability of young people for being enticed into finding other alternatives to Christ (Eastern Yoga, Buddhism, Islam, etc.). This would also explain why young people are more easily mislead into erroneous thinking such as the atheistic philosophical view that “Evolution” presents.
Keaton Halley
And, as part of their duty to train children up in the Lord, parents should also be educating them about Genesis as historical reality. See: A 'no brainer' test for measuring the faith of our young ones.
Sharon S.
Suggestion: people will naturally question whether the small sample of interviewees is really representative of the United States college population as a whole, and some will no doubt think that your results are too tidy, too helpful to your own ministry, to be trusted. It would help if, maybe in the article on Fallout, you'd specify how many you interviewed, where the college(s) were, how you chose those interviews to put on screen, and if there were any students you interviewed and didn't show. I know you said you didn't pick and choose, but some numbers would be helpful. For a 27-minute program, you likely didn't interview a large number of students, but were these dozen or so all the interviews? (Maybe this research could be expanded by Gallup or someone to demonstrate even more clearly what you're saying.) BTW, my husband and I bought 50 for us, and we rounded up 3 others to get 50 each.
Gary Bates
Sharon, of course people will say we were being selective, but that's why we stated in the DVD that we were not. People who are not creationists will always find all sorts of reasons to reject our argumentation. Although we stated in the DVD that what people see is was we got, at the end of the day people can choose to believe us or not. We could have included a lot more interviews too, and it would have been longer...and boring.

One of the areas that is a struggle for ministries like ours is to get pastors to see this as an important issue to address. That's why it is deliberately short, as they often have little time to watch or read the plethora of things handed to them by eager congregants. We don't need to produce the stats anyway. There have been lots of books and surveys on this subject to support what we have 'sound-byted' in video form (Barna Research, for example, and lots of articles on this site that refer to those surveys). But despite there being a preponderance of written material on the subject, backed up by stats and surveys, the message does not seem to be getting through. The purpose of a short DVD was to create awareness in a watchable form and to show that it is real people--somebody's children--that these stats apply to. That's why this DVD is powerful. I would suggest that if someone comes to you after you've handed them the DVD and says that it is selective, you could refer them to lots of books and surveys on the subject, and encourage them to do their own research, rather than basing a comment on ignorance.

FWIW we did these surveys over a 18 month period. Initially, a lot of our questions, and the answers, were clumsily worded and not usable due to length, although they clearly supported the end results. It was only after many attempts, when we finally asked yes or no questions that we got short responses that were suitable for a punchy media format. So, again, if we had used those long-winded responses it would not have really made suitable and watchable media material. This is always the challenge one faces when using this format.

All the best to you as you share them..and thanks!
Brendan J.
I believe that perhaps there is another aspect closely related to this presentation as to why so many youth are leaving the churches, and that is the preponderance of emotion and 'feelings' as being evidence of the presence of God, and/or the approval of God in different settings, even in church.
So while a good sound understanding of Biblical truth is vital, and creation being ONE OF those truths, we must be cognizant of the fact that even Satan knows these truths, and is lost. What Satan lacks, and what so many young people today lack, is a vital personal connection or relationship with the Creator of creation. The act of creation is one thing, knowing the actual Creator personally and understanding Who He is and Who His Father is, is far more important than anything else in establishing anyone in the faith.
"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent". John 17:3
Keaton Halley
We have written on this as well, in places like Emotional highs are not enough! The Fallout DVD is not meant to comprehensively explain why everyone walks away from the faith, but when we asked questions related to our ministry mandate of creation and evolution, the pattern that emerged confirmed what our ministry experience has been for 35+ years—that evolution is a major (if not the major) stumbling block to Christian faith and regularly goes hand-in-hand with apostasy. A good antidote to these problems is to give solid biblical teaching beginning with a historical Genesis.
John L.
Thank You dear fellow laborers in Christ. I have sent this link to several pastors and missionaries that I know. It is a big help.
Dan K.
As a science teacher at a Christian high school, I understand how important the origins issue is to forming a Biblical worldview. But I would be very hesitant to cast it as the primary reason young people leave the faith, when it is actually a (closely correlated) symptom of the root issue: secular humanist philosophy.
The fact is that our secular humanist society has abandoned God and His Word on *every* front, not just on the question of origins: every TV show, hit song, movie, journalist, teacher/professor, etc... embraces humanist values, regardless of the topic. Humanism's first tenet is that there is no God, so it is no surprise that teaching about creation is rejected, as evolution is the only game in town.
My primary vocation as a science teacher at a Christian school is not to educate my students about 6-day creation. It is to expose humanism for the life-destroying fraud that it is, and to present its alternative - a counter-cultural obedience to God - as the only source of abundant life. This includes obedience to His Word, so proper teaching about creation falls under this rubric.
But to name the creation/evolution controversy as the source of this problem is unhelpful, as the root cause (secular humanism as the dominant philosophy in our culture today) is not addressed. There are other Christian ministries working very hard to educate young people and families about this, and I would love to see a partnership between them and CMI.
Dan K.
Keaton Halley
Hi Dan. As we've written in response to other comments, we are not claiming that evolution is "the root cause" of people falling away. We believe it's a major factor, but we have been careful not to oversimplify a complex and multifaceted issue. Many leave for reasons that have little or nothing to do with secular humanism as well. But we would argue that evolution is a major, if not the primary, reason secular humanism has gained such a strong foothold in the culture. Many who lose their faith testify that it was learning about evolution that led them away from Christianity, sometimes to become atheists. Think of Richard Dawkins' quip about how Darwin allowed him to become an intellectually fulfilled atheist. So, we were reporting on a correlation we found that suggests these issues are important, but, of course, these are part of a larger package. If someone was only taught about six-day creation but not the rest of the Bible, this would not solve the problem either, because both creation and evolution are most consistently understood as part of a larger worldview 'package'. But I would argue that one's view of origins serves as a foundation and a logical entry point for embracing a particular worldview.
Norman P.
The young who are brought up in the faith still need to be converted (John Chs. 1 & 3) - John Wesley being a classic example! Also, I suspect young people use 'Evolution' as an excuse to fall away, especially if they haven't actually been converted. Conditions in the world are now such that many competing philosophies are fed to the young as irrefutable fact. It is the timely, God-given role of apologetics ministries to expose them, and to reassure the trust of the faithful in the truth of God's word. However, Julie is right in saying there are many other pressures on the young - let alone us adults. (2 Cor 11:1-5) Apostasy is rife - a sign of the times - but which also heralds the Lord's soon-coming. God is sovereign in children's conversion. Remember Samuel; also the prodigal son. Having done all, us parents must stand - and pray! God will not disappoint.
[I have a book coming out soon entitled 'Were the Whole Realm of Nature Mine - A Vet's Devotional Memoirs'. My testimony affirms the above, and I believe will be a comfort many - children and parents alike].
Richard L.
Amen and Amen! Thank you for this resource and article. The centrality of its claim I have seen in positive feedback (sometimes years later) being reported through parents who relay to me the encouragement that their children--now grown up--say that I gave them, by showing that good answers exist in the area of origins and the bible's reliability. Of course, not every person so trained will stay with biblical faith and church fellowship (re. Julie's concern). Some well-trained youth can personally sin at university (e.g., substance abuse, illicit sexual activity) and need to rationalize their non-repentance toward God. Others can move away for noble-seeming reasons. A relative of mine fell in love with a non-Christian while becoming an atheist at university, in spite of earlier creationist training. She took priority over God and a reliable Bible.

But what about the other (rarer) incidents where trained youth 'fall away' without those extra factors? I know of 2 instances. One involves Davis Young (who used to teach geology at Wheaton), the son of young-earth creationist theologian E.J. Young. The other is a relative of mine. Both relate a shock (of disillusionment, and of apparent betrayal of trust [supposedly done by the bible]) when biblical teaching is rejected in an embarrassing way in a science / engineering college setting.That vulnerability to embarrassment and felt-disillusionment can only occur if the earlier creationist 'convictions' were only skin-deep. Such people want to be 'good' children, compliant with creationist parents and pastors in earlier years. But then the shock of rejection in the wider world. And not being ready psychologically for it. Application: youth must practice ROLE-PLAY of that rejection, and of our push-back against it.
Julie M.
"Yet, every student we spoke to who was equipped with answers as a young person still retains their Christian convictions..."
Blanket statements like this can be very hurtful to families who have had a child walk away from their faith in God. I am a strong advocate for Creation Ministries and the great teaching you provide to equip people to defend a Biblical account of origins. My children were steeped in your resources during their childhood and teen years. Three are still walking faithfully and strongly in their convictions of the reliability of the Bible and the correlation between Genesis and the Gospel of Jesus. However, one has turned his back on Jesus despite being well equipped with answers to support Biblical Christianity. Whilst having answers and a solid foundation is important, sin and a desire to live independent of God will still cause some to fall away, despite our prayers, despite our teaching. The problem of falling away is more complex than this one issue.
Gary Bates
Julie, of course people leave the faith for a number of reasons. We would never say otherwise and of course falling away is a complex issue. But when you say 'hurtful' it may imply some sort of motive, insensitivity or selective editing/presentation of content on our part, or saying that we think it is THE ONLY issue. We are a creation ministry and we are trying to create awareness in churches and families who think their own children are exempt. This is our specialty area and ministry mandate, so of course we are going to focus in our key area. It is not our mandate to go into all sorts of other areas. But I need to ask, have you actually watched the whole DVD or just the trailer? If you watched the whole DVD you will see that we stated we were not selective with what made it to screen. What you see is what you get, which does highlight that creation vs evolution is a key issue though. Sin is always the problem why people reject God and there may be ultimately a plethora of reasons why people walk away from their childhood faith too, and evolution can also be used as an excuse. But the correlation we found (and already knew anyway) between what they were NOT taught and leaving the faith (likely more so than what they were taught) was inescapable. It's something all our speakers hear from parents in church every week. At the end of the day, even our own children are free to make decisions for themselves. As a parent I can obviously empathize with your situation but please also understand and empathize that we cannot shy away from what we evidenced. And although you called it a blanket statement, it was an actual statement of fact of the results we received. We could only find a handful of college students who believed in biblical creation (and we said that in the video). And each one of them was taught creation in their youth. Keep hanging in there as I personally know of similar situations where children have also come back. And I have just said a prayer for you and your son. Blessings be upon you
Dan M.
Thanks CMI
We are in an uphill battle but remember God gave Israel many a victory in uphill battles when they remained vigilant and true.
Give us the tools and we will fight the good fight. Remember God said "train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Pro 22:6). That's the key. We are not training the youth properly and when they are old they are departing from us.
Frank S.
Is this DVD available now? I see no link or information on how to order it. How much is it?
Gary Bates
Hello sir, you found this article a little early. But that's ok. Here's the link to the Fallout DVD on our store. You'll be pleased to know that they are just $1 each but a minimum of 10 purchase quantity is required. One for you to keep and 9 to give away. -:)
Shirley L.
WOW! What a sad state of affairs. Creation ministries is working very hard to correct this situation. Thank you. We are one of the few world wide churches that retains 90% or more of our youth. This can be a bit surprising because, to put it bluntly, it is all or nothing. If you want to give up everything to follow Christ and be His disciple this is a good place to be. However, another crucial point may be that the majority of parents realize that children are one of the greatest gifts that God allows us to have. They work hard toward the goal of making it very good for the children in the church and at home. We believe the Genesis account as CMI has put it forth, although, I do not know how the parents answer the difficult questions that kids ask. I have had a small opportunity to share some of CMI's materials. Much appreciation, Shirley.
Gary Bates
Thanks Shirley. It's great to hear that your church obviously does a good job. However, would you approach your pastors about having CMI in the church, possibly for a creation conference with QA sessions etc.? It would make a great outreach and equipping opportunity. Please see our range of ministry programs for your church.

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