HAVE YOUR CHILDREN LEFT THE FAITH?
When Adult Children Reject the Faith. Clem Boyd. Focus on the Family, 2007. https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/when-adult-children-reject-the-faith
What If My Child Leaves the Faith? Michael Horton. Core Christianity, 2018. https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/what-if-my-child-leaves-the-faith
What to Do When Your Children Leave the Faith. David Mills. The Stream, 2019. https://stream.org/what-do-when-children-leave-faith
Most Teenagers Drop Out of Church as Young Adults. Aaron Earls. LifeWay Research, 2019. https://lifewayresearch.com/2019/01/15/most-teenagers-drop-out-of-church-as-young-adults
Updated: Are Young People Really Leaving Christianity? J. Warner Wallace. Cold Case Christianity, 2019. https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/are-young-people-really-leaving-christianity
LifeWay Research Study. LifeWay Research and Ministry Development, 2007.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s Family Life Council. Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, 2002.
You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church and Rethinking Church. David Kinnaman. Baker Books, 2011.
Gen Z: The Culture, Beliefs and Motivations Shaping the Next Generation. Barna Group, 2018.
CARA National Study. Mark M. Gray. Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, 2016.
What Does It Mean to Train up a Child in the Way He Should Go? Brent Rinehart. Crosswalk.com, 2019. https://www.crosswalk.com/family/parenting/kids/what-does-it-mean-to-train-up-a-child-in-the-way-he-should-go.html
John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible. Proverbs 22:6, Train up a Child in the Way He Should Go. Bible Study Tools. https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/proverbs-22-6.html
Blue Letter Bible. Proverbs 22:6 King James Version (KJV) Interlinear. https://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/pro/22/6/t_conc_650006
Blue Letter Bible. Lexicon Strong’s H6310 Peh. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6310&t=KJV
Bible Hub. Proverbs 22:6. https://biblehub.com/proverbs/22-6.htm
Bible Hub. 6310 Peh. https://biblehub.com/hebrew/6310.htm
Knowing Jesus. Proverbs 22:6. https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/Proverbs/22/6
Photo Credit: John Piper in 2016. Desiring God. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. https://dg.imgix.net/john-piper-t1zc1vhs-en/square/john-piper-t1zc1vhs-bb4f7ebdfa75335bd1534e50dc3bbc7c.jpg
HAVE YOUR CHILDREN LEFT THE FAITH?
[Female] “Mom, dad…”
[Male] “There is something I need to tell you…”
[Female] “I’m an atheist.”
[Male] “I don’t believe in God anymore.”
[Voice Over] Have Your Children Left the Faith?
[Voice Over] “You probably remember reading them Bible stories when they were younger, praying with them, taking them to church… maybe they even got baptized or went on a mission trip…”
[Voice Over] “And then one day they went off to college and their faith was tested. Maybe they struggled with substance abuse or sexuality. Perhaps they went through a difficult divorce or loss of a loved one. Whatever the case may be, somewhere along the way… they just stopped believing.”
[Voice Over] “If this sounds like you and your child, we want you to know that you’re not alone! Recent studies have found that 60%-70% of young Christians are disconnecting from the church or abandoning their faith in their early adulthood.”
[Voice Over] “Listen to what our teenagers and young adults are saying.”
[Teenager 1] “The church seems to reject so much of what science tells us about the world.”
[Teenager 2] “I grew up and realized it was a story like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.”
[Teenager 3] “I have a hard time believing a good God would allow so much evil and suffering in the world.”
[Teenager 1] “The people at church are so hypocritical.”
[Teenager 2] “I don’t feel like I can ask life’s most pressing questions in church.”
[Teenager 3] “I don’t like how the churches appear to be against science. This just doesn’t fit with what I understand of the universe anymore.”
[David] “Proverbs 22:6 says, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.’” [King James Version]
[David] “Some people claim this verse as a universal promise to all believing parents that if their children leave the faith, they are guaranteed to return. Others say it is more of a general principle observed by King Solomon that children raised in the instruction of the Lord, in their years of maturity and understanding, typically return to the good way in which they were raised.”
[David] “Interestingly enough, some Bible scholars disagree with both of these interpretations, claiming that the focus, based on the original Hebrew, is actually less about the spiritual and moral direction about the way our children should go and it’s more on the general discipline and instruction about the way they have chosen to go. Even other scholars say the emphasis is really about helping each of our children discover their purpose in life based on their own unique gifts and talents.”
[David] “Regardless of how we interpret this seemingly simple yet multifaceted little verse, it contains wisdom, encouragement and good news for all parents.”
[David “Proverbs 22:6 may not be a promise, but it can be a prayer. If any of your children have left the faith, know that God wants them back even more than you do. He doesn’t want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. [2 Peter 3:9] And if they would just turn to Him—even if they are still far off—He will run to them like the father of the prodigal son.” [Luke 15:11-24]
[David] “So, don’t beat yourself up. The truth is, this may or may not have anything to do with your parenting. Adam and Even had the perfect parent and they still chose to disobey. Your children are free to make their own choices. And even if there are things that you wish you did differently as a parent; this doesn’t help you or your kids today. You can’t change the past, but you can create a new one starting right now. [Philippians 3:13-14] And it’s never too late!”
[David] “Proverbs 22:6 encourages us to be intentional in our parenting and provide personalized guidance and direction to our children. We should identify their strengths and weaknesses, find out what motivates them, and discover what makes each of them special and unique.”
[David] “Now, as your children get older, your influence in their lives will be reduced, but it’s not zero. You still have work to do, though you may need to change your approach.”
[Female] “I’m an adult now. And I don’t want to be lectured or constantly critiqued anymore.”
[Male] “But I still want to spend time with you. Let’s make the most of the moments we have together.”
[David] “They grow up so fast. You know, it’s probably time to start treating them like an adult peer rather than a wayward child. You may want to talk to them more like an evangelist than a prosecutor. They know your faith is important to you and they probably won’t be offended if you talk about it from time to time, as long as you’re expressing yourself, not critiquing them.”
[David] “There are some practical things you can do:”
[David] “For example, you can share a Christian book that inspired you. They may choose not to read it, and you need to be okay with that, but you can give them the opportunity.”
[David] “Additionally, you can invite them to a church event, a conference, or a Christian concert in your area. Again, the choice is theirs to attend or not, but you can make the invite without any pressure. And if they do take you up on it, make it a positive and lasting memory.”
[David] “I truly believe one of the best things you can do for your children as they grow older is demonstrate a little more honesty, transparency and even vulnerability in your relationship with them.”
[David] “As you reflect on your past, you can open up about some of the mistakes you made and even some of the doubts [Jude 1:22] you had. This could be more powerful than you realize. You see, the younger generation already views so many Christians as hypocrites. We have all fallen short of God’s glory [Romans 3:23] and we have all had doubts at some point, just like the disciples. Being open and honest about this could be the key to a new relationship with your child.”
[David] “Don’t force the issue but when the opportunity presents itself, you can share with them what God is doing in your life, what He is saying to you, what Bible verses mean the most to you, why you go to church, why you pray. In short, without placing any expectations on them, you’re free to be yourself. And you never know what seeds you plant will eventually bear fruit someday.”
[David] Sometimes, as we get older, we can get in a spiritual rut in our faith. I’m not talking about blatant disobedience or unbelief. But sometimes… we just lose our spark, and we need to re-ignite our passion for God.”
[David] “If you want to see your children walk closely with the Lord, the absolute best thing you can do is show them the way. Your children—young and old—need to see genuine Christ-followers—whom they know personally—walking in faith, hope and love, [ Corinthians 13:13] trusting Jesus with all of their heart, [Proverbs 3:5] enjoying the fruit of the Spirit in their lives, [Galatians 5:22-23] and daily treasuring a loving relationship with God.” [Matthew 6:21]
[David] “‘If God is your treasure, He will be your pleasure.’ [John Piper] In short, let your kids see you finish strong, whatever that looks like for you. Because that’s an example that’s hard to resist.”
[David] “And finally, let us help At Christianity Engaged, this is our mission—to help people overcome barriers to faith and grow in a closer relationship with God. And we place a special emphasis on this younger generation.”
[David] “The world has convinced your children that faith in God is outdated, illogical and irrelevant. Christians are being ridiculed for their beliefs and quite honestly, some of the worst places for this ridicule are the schools and universities our children attend. But the world is wrong.”
[David] “As an example, the world is telling your children that science has sufficient answers to explain the origin of the universe without God and that to believe in Him is ignorant.”
[David] “The truth is that some of smartest and most intellectual people on the planet are believers. In fact, if you analyze the Nobel Prize winners over the last 100 years you will find the majority of them were Christian—and nearly 90% believed in God. ‘Science is simply mankind trying to understand the greatness of God’s design.’ [Francis Collins] Or as Albert Einstein famously put it, ‘The more I study science, the more I believe in God.’”
[David] “Whatever it is keeping your child from a loving relationship with our Heavenly Father, whether it’s science, the existence of evil and suffering in the world, personal and emotional pain they’ve experienced, hypocritical Christians in the church, unanswered prayer, loss of a loved one—whatever the case may be—at Christianity Engaged, we want to help.”
[David] “We have videos addressing many of these topics, and more being released every month. As an example, we have multiple videos answering various questions about science and God. For anyone struggling with deep, personal pain, we have a video titled How Could a Good God Allow Evil and Suffering? that is insightful and very relevant.
[David] “And for anyone with doubts about their faith, and for all nonbelievers, we have a seven-part video series called The Skeptic’s Journey, which is based on a true story of an atheist’s conversion to Christianity over 15 years of intense research and wresting with God.
[David] “All of our videos are available for you and your family. They are free to watch, free to share, and free of any ads distracting from the message. We don’t monetize our videos on YouTube or our website because we are completely viewer supported.”
[David] “If your child has left the faith, I want you to know that Christianity Engaged is praying for you, that you would be encouraged and that you would finish strong. We are praying for your children, that their hearts would be softened, their eyes would be opened, and whatever is that is preventing them from accepting God’s love would be completely removed. We are praying for reconciliation, restoration, and revival all over the world. God bless you all.”
[David] “If this video was a blessing to you, I would love to hear from you personally. Please take a moment and leave a comment in YouTube or you can send a personal email through our website at ChristianityEngaged.org. Now, you can be a blessing to us by liking this video, subscribing to our channel, and sharing our videos with your family and friends. We invite you to pray for this ministry and as always, you can help us produce more videos like this and make them available absolutely free by making a tax-deductible donation to our ministry at ChristianityEngaged.org. Thank you, and God bless!”