A survey conducted by Barna suggests that children raised in the church, by Christian parents, either disengage or turn from the faith when they become adults (Barna). I propose that the issue is not a lack of power or substance in our Faith, but in the failing to discern the traps that await the rising generation, in the culture and the world at large. It is failing to seriously acknowledge the dangers that await our children late in their adolescence.
I believe something just as dangerous is taking place. Adult children are remaining in the church but turning from the core values of the faith. With the assistance of antagonistic philosophy, they are adopting views that are contrary to Biblical Doctrine. As Kingdom people, we have a mandate to protect our children intellectually and help them become strong Christian
adults. We have their ear, they trust and depend on us. Children and adolescents will continue to depend on the counsel of their parents as they grow physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially (Brooks).
Let us do our best to cover and protect them. In the same way that we freeze- proof or sunburn-proof our children to protect them from the outside elements, we should also “Turn Proof” them from the dangers that are designed to assault their faith and values. We can protect them by laying a staunch foundation of faith influenced with sound theology (Proverbs 22:6).
As an example: The danger of our children going into an education/career field of philosophy (i.e. Psychology, Education, Politics) without a sound theology, is that they are at risk of inheriting a contrary, anti-Kingdom, philosophy. They have no substance to resist and no articulation to overcome, because they stand on a frail foundation. If we do not teach our children a Kingdom worldview, if we do not set the foundation of sound theology, the culture will impose its worldview upon them.
While corporate worship and Christian gatherings are critical to the Kingdom Life, sound theological foundations are solidified at home. They are encouraged at the dining room table, the living room sofa, and on the daily car ride. In those moments, we have the grace to pour out into them, what we have gained in the process of our discipleship and transformation (see Romans 12:2).
“Since the goal is for our children to grow up to act, look, think, live, speak, and pray like Christ, the method is to be that example for them” (Ingram). We are called to model, instruct, guide and reinforce the faith. [Our] children must know God personally and serve Him faithfully before stepping out from under our covering. At that time their genuineness of faith will be tested. The children will be found dressed in the full armor of God or naked and ashamed, with empty hearts and mouths full of powerless, religious, anecdotes.
[Parents], Let us refuse to raise a generation given to religiosity and vulnerable to anti-Kingdom philosophy. Let us refuse to raise our children in lukewarm theology and social conformity. Instead let us help them build a lasting, immovable foundation of faith.
If you raise a child on a strong foundation of faith, the winds and waves of contemporary culture and philosophy will struggle move them. They will be steadfast, immovable, and ‘Turn Proof.’ Instead of religiosity they will inherit a theology that reveals the beauty and power of a personal Relationship with God!
Senior Pastor Luis Vergara
Barna, Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church, Online Article, 09/27/11.
Brooks, Jane. The Process of Parenting – 9th Addition (2013). New York:McGraw-Hill, p.338
Ingram, Chip. Effective Parenting in a Defective World (2006). Colorado Springs: Tyndale. p.12
New International Study Bible. (2011). Grand Rapids: Zondrvan