Sunday, 17 May 2015

Encouraging our children to persevere in the faith

In an article discussing why children abandon Christianity after leaving home, Liveway identifies the importance of teaching our children the truth of Christianity. Children don't need to (just) know a set of rules and a collection of common beliefs, but also doctrine; and not just the what of Christian doctrine but the why.

They also summarise a study looking at commonalities of those who remain in the fold versus those who leave.

Recent research out of Fuller Theological Seminary examined the long-term faith of teenagers, and the results were compiled in the book "Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids" by Kara E. Powell and Chap Clark.
Three features of children who persevere are
  1. Students with sticky faith are raised in a faith culture that emphasizes a relationship with Christ as opposed to an adherence to a set of rules.
  2. Students with sticky faith are surrounded by an intergenerational faith community.
  3. The most important factor by far in each of the lives of teens who developed sticky faith is a parent who is willing to walk with them through their faith journey. 
We need to focus them on Jesus, church them in community and (to an extent) resist a peer-only environment, and make sure we, as parents, are engaging our children in matters of faith.

While not included here, my pastor would add that children who serve in the church persevere more than those who just attend. We should get our children involved in various ministries. Examples would depend on the child but could include helping with younger age group ministry; sound; church setup; music; food ministries.

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