Many surveys and studies have documented the way so many kids graduate from high school and then let their faith slide or dissolve altogether after graduation – whether they go on to college or university or simply find a job and work. A recent survey by America’s Research Group revealed that 95% of born again Christians aged twenty to twenty-nine attended church regularly during their elementary school years. However, 55% attended while in high school, and only 11% were still attending in college.
We have a problem. Our young people are not experiencing God. They know the information but are not being transformed. Their heads are receiving what we are saying but their hearts are not being impacted. Thus more and more of them are fading away as they get older. They are not holding to the “faith of their fathers.”
The problem is not that they are leaving home and having the freedom to o what they want to do and thus skip church. It seems more likely that kids are not experiencing the relevancy of church or seeing the significance of their faith in light of what they experience at school and at home. And these are Christian kids. We are not equipping them well, it seems.
So how do we do better? Not by pretending to be perfect and have all the answers. Instead, we must let them see our struggles as well as our strengths. We must not only try to mirror God’s character on a daily basis but also show our humanity – our questions, doubts, and weaknesses – in the mix. We must share answered prayers as well as the unanswered ones. We can lose our tempers and then we must be humble enough to ask for forgiveness. Being a good parent is impossible unless we rely on God for strength, patience, wisdom, guidance, and discernment – and teach our kids how to do the same.
But above all, to be good parents and to reverse the trends noted about we need to fall madly in love with Jesus and simply, every day, become more and more like Him. This will have the strongest impact of all upon our children no matter what their age.