hy do young people walk away from their faith when they leave home? Key reasons include their lack of strong faith as a child and their parents not having lived a vibrant faith.
Parents tend to focus, almost by default, on raising kids who will exhibit good behavior, succeed in school and eventually in employment, and become decent citizens. If they accomplish this, most feel, they have parented well.
While these are important outcomes, they are not the most important. What do I desire most for my children? For them to grow in the knowledge and love of their Savior Jesus Christ and articulate, defend, and joyfully live out their faith in whatever calling God has for them. Helping disciple our children on this journey should be a parent’s urgent priority.
Deuteronomy 6:5–8 tells us that we are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and strength, and commit wholeheartedly to God’s commands. We are to repeat these commands again and again to our children when we are home, on the road, when going to bed and getting up.
Proverbs 22:6 notes that we parents are to train our children in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not turn from it.
The Bible is clear that parents are chiefly responsible for helping their children become effective disciples. The church can help. Youth groups can help. Godly friends can help. But parents are on the front line, and they need help.
Parents deal with so many seemingly urgent and important things, managing their jobs, helping kids with school, taking them to sports, music, or play practices, church activities, hobbies, vacations . . . At times, just surviving the daily grind can seem like an impossible goal.
But if we fail to intentionally prepare the hearts of our children to fall in love with the Creator of the universe and find joy in following Him, our work as parents will fall dreadfully short of God’s plan for us to lead our children. Likewise, as a church, if we neglect the work of equipping parents to disciple their children, we have forfeited a foundational responsibility.
Recent studies from a variety of reputable sources have confirmed that parents, in general, are not properly preparing children to have a solid faith. Here are just a few summary comments:
Not surprisingly, homes modeling lukewarm faith do not create enduring faith in children. Homes modeling vibrant faith do. So these young adults are leaving something they never had a good grasp of in the first place. This is not a crisis of faith, per se, but of parenting.1
The drop-out problem is, at its core, a faith-development problem; to use religious language, it’s a disciple-making problem. The church is not adequately preparing the next generation to follow Christ faithfully in a rapidly changing culture.2
Next page »