Throughout time, the Christian church has been confronted with challenges. Our challenge in the 21st century is that many of our own kids who attend church as children… are leaving the faith as adults! This should raise a red flag for all parents.
A 2008 study was conducted at the University of Notre Dame and the Center for the Study of Religion and Society. A couple of their findings are worth noting: nearly 1/3 of emerging adults surveyed had made no religious commitment by age 23, and the majority of those who made a faith commitment did so before age 14. This reinforces the notion that religious commitments and orientations appear to be set early in life and continue to progress throughout adulthood.
So, what can parents do to make sure faith “sticks”? Psalm 78:5-7 gives us clear instruction: “He commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God.” A strong Christian family is where Biblical truths are lived out in daily life. Children who see parents who are conformed to the image and example of Christ are much more likely to want to pursue that life for themselves. Here are three ways parents can do this:
- Honor Marriage or Single Parenting. If you’re married, pursue a God-honoring marriage with partners equally committed to one another. If you’re a single parent, recognize that you’re not alone in raising your children; God is your partner!
- Pass the Faith. Intentionally create experiences that deepen the roots of faith. You can start by sharing short, fun devotional times with your children. We are committed to providing you with a weekly Family Devotional that follows our weekly Sunday school lessons for ages three through 5th You can pick this up at church or view it here. You can also purchase devotional books designed for children at various ages and stages, or many are available for download online. Ask us if you need recommendations. There are many other ways to strengthen your child’s faith: pray with them, join them in serving others, regularly attend church as a family, commit to Bible study at home and/or church.
- Walk the Talk. Be the person you want your kids to be when they grow up. Let them see you living out your faith daily by being a person of good character. Jesus gave us this specific instruction in Matthew 7:12: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”