Thursday, September 11, 2014

Developing a "Sticky Faith" in your kids

It is estimated that 40 to 50 percent of the freshmen starting college this Fall will abandon their faith by the time they receive their diplomas.  These are the same kids who actively participated in church youth groups in high school, and when polled the year before college, 80 percent had every intention of sticking with their faith.

Drs. Kara Powell and Chad Clark, faculty members of Fuller Seminary, studied 500 youth group members following high school graduation and their journey in college.  Their research results are reported in their book: STICKY FAITH: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids.

Here are a few broad and fundamental concepts for all parents: (1) Their faith will reflect your faith.  Their prayer patterns, attendance patterns, bible study patterns, involvement will be the same as their parents. (2) Most kids have been taught sin management-not relationship.  We need to teach them how Christ changes us from the inside out and we obey Him because we love Him. (3) Strong community builds long-lasting faith.  We all need a network of caring supporters who aid in the spiritual development process and hold us accountable to staying connected to the faith.

Here are some recommended suggestions for parents and their children: For pre-school and elementary kids – spend time everyday debriefing their day and saying prayers at bedtime as well as other healthy rituals.  Middle school kids – listen and ask questions.  Talk about your faith - its ups and downs, and then encourage them to talk about theirs.  High school kids – two million go on mission trips annually.  Five out of six report that these trips have little impact on their lives.  For service to stick, find causes that hit close to home.  Make service a family affair.  Those who serve younger children are more likely to develop stickier faith. College bounds – talk about life after high school before they graduate from high school.  Discuss issues like managing money and time.  Help them plan a schedule including church attendance.

Let’s continue to encourage, help and pray for all parents.

P.S. If you want to be effective in your spiritual journey, you must talk to God.  If you find this a struggle, you will appreciate our services this Sunday at 9:00 and 10:30 a.m.

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