90% of families fail. they always have.

Background on the 90% family failure rate

Imagine living in a world where the probability that you’re going to take a tumble the minute you get out of bed is a whopping 90%. A world where there is a 9 out of 10 chance that there will be no hot water when you step into the shower. And then, 90% odds that your spouse will say, “Sorry honey, no food in the fridge, you’ll have to grab something on the way to the office.” Which by the way, will be pretty unlikely given the overwhelming odds that your car won’t start when you turn the ignition. That may not be such a bad thing, of course, since those pesky odds would follow you out the driveway and make you a shoo-in to be involved in a car accident once you were finally on the road. 

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For 90% of families, a slip and fall is inevitable

For 90% of families, a slip and fall is inevitable

A 90% probability of anything happening pretty much constitutes an actuarial certainty. Fortunately, in the real world, our chances of having to stare doom in the face on a daily basis are pretty limited. The odds of being struck by lightning sometime in your life are 1 in 3,000. Of being attacked by a shark, about 1 in 700,000. Still, those are odds we can—and do—live with. It goes against human nature to suggest that any of us would set out to get married, build a house, start a business, have children or do anything else important knowing there was a 90% chance that we’d fail. Tragically, though, when it comes to passing the things that matter most to our children and grandchildren, that 90% statistic is all too true, and it has been true through all recorded history.

Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”
— Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)

In 9 out of 10 instances, the things that a family truly needs to receive from the parents and grandparents if they are going to be able to thrive and prosper across the years will probably never be addressed in a serious, thoughtful manner. This statistic is borne out by multiple studies, the review of historical records dating back centuries, and the experience of thousands of professionals who work with families on a daily basis. Families typically fail across three generations, say the studies. Failure means the loss of family unity, strength, shared values and stories, and prosperity. It also often involves a host of problems for individual family members, from substance abuse to divorce. And, of course, as families fail and individuals suffer the consequences, the communities and organizations (including churches) they have attended, participated in and supported in the past lose members, which weakens the fabric of those entities and makes their ability to grow and thrive that much more difficult. Families do not fail in isolation.

To turn this cascade of family failure around, we knew that people were going to have to look at what constitutes a ‘real’ inheritance in a whole new light. That was the inspiration for our work in developing the Family Stewardship study program.

We have been working with families for decades to help reverse the 90% failure rate. And, the more we see families integrate the habits and behaviors of the 10% of families who thrive generation after generation, the more we believe that the tide is slowly turning, and that the day will come when 9 out of 10 families will succeed across generations. We see the way ahead, and we do all we can to help families to understand the Christ-centered wisdom that will help them to walk forward to a happier, stronger, more united future for their families.