Warning: Your child is following a “mutant” form of Christianity, and you may be responsible.
These and many other compelling words come from a CNN article by John Blake highlighting the research of Kenda Dean, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and youth ministry leader. The article is a must read for any parent or church leader. It shines a spotlight on today’s teenagers and how in many ways parents and the church are failing them. It stirs conversation of how parents will and should impact their children. Plus, the church has an a crucial role and some thought provoking results and implications are presented.
Here are a few quotes to draw you in:
- Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls “moralistic therapeutic deism.”
- “Others practice a ‘gospel of niceness,’ where faith is simply doing good and not ruffling feathers. The Christian call to take risks, witness and sacrifice for others is muted.”
- “There are countless studies that show that religious teenagers do better in school, have better relationships with their parents and engage in less high-risk behavior,” Dean says. “They do a lot of things that parents pray for.”
- “Parents who perform one act of radical faith in front of their children convey more than a multitude of sermons and mission trips.”
- “Parents are the most important influence on their children’s faith…the ultimate blame for teens’ religious apathy is on adults.”
Dean says committed Christian teens share four traits:
- They have a personal story about God they can share
- Deep connection to a faith community
- A sense of purpose
- A sense of hope about their future
Are your children “catching” an authentic faith from you? How can we give our kids more than a “watered-down” faith that moves beyond them seeing God as a “divine therapist”? We could
- Teach our children to be bold, courageous and take risks for the things of God.
- Priortize conversations and activities that revolve around the truths of God’s Word.
- Look to relate everyday life…activities, decision, conversations…back to Christ and His commands.
- Serve in the community, at your local church or even on the mission field together as a family.
- Have routine family devotions and family nights to engage in conversation around God’s Word.
- Let your kids see you reading the Bible, serving, putting Others First, making the hard decisions to follow Christ…and talk to them about that journey in your life.
How are you influencing your children’s faith?