By Caleb Gordon
Parents: Your kid’s college professor is not the reason they are walking away from their faith – You Are!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates – Deut. 6:5-9.
We live in a “Christian parent culture” that, by process of elimination, is teaching by example. In and of itself, this is what we are called to do.
We are to lead our kids. We are to show them what it looks like to love Jesus. We are to show them what it looks like to love the church and to truly be committed to the body local of Christ.
But there is a problem. The stats are showing something different. More than 80 percent of students are walking away from the church by the time they are seniors in high school. And there are blogs, articles and books that attempt to address the “why,” but I think the biggest reason is that the parents are not truly living out Deut. 6:5.
We have adults who are professing to know and love Jesus, but they act as if they are atheists. Look at this command:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children…”
What are we to be teaching our children? Are we teaching them to pursue Jesus with everything, to make him the top shelf when it comes to our priorities? Are we teaching them that being active in the church is important?
The sad thing that is happening is that the average church member only makes around two church services (meetings) a month. This includes Sundays and Wednesdays. Church attendance is not what saves us, but it is an outward barometer that measures what we view as priorities.
If you, as a member of any other social organization only made two meetings a month, it would be deduced that you really did not think that this group was that important. Out of all organizations on the planet, the church should be one of the most cherish and loved above all else. What we are doing in the church WILL matter in 10,000 years.
You need to ask yourself the question, “Does what your recreational sports team is doing going to really matter in eternity? Is it more important than the things that Jesus has called us to do?”
I know the regular arguments: “We can be salt and light if we are in these areas.” And the answer to that is YES WE CAN BE! But in all reality, 99.9 percent of the time we are NOT being salt and light.
We don’t want to rock the boat. We don’t want to truly engage on that level. So we remain quiet, or even worse, we dive headlong into the realms of the people who are present with us, and instead of showing the light of Jesus, we just become exactly like the other lost people. So in all reality that excuse is not truly valid.
It’s been my experience with people that if folks are replacing church with other activates, they are committing idolatry (i.e. they love this world and the things of this world more than JESUS). And just so you know, that ends badly for those people.
Our utmost commitment needs to be to Jesus Christ and the mission of Jesus, which is primarily executed in the local visible New Testament church. If you are devoting more of your time to any other organization or group, you are living un-biblically.
Matt Chandler said: “There is data out there that now shows that kids are not being secularized at college by some atheist teacher. Rather, they are being secularized at home, before they go to college by well-meaning Christian parents who can’t tease out the value balance between sports and activities and the gathering of people of God.”
So, in other words, a ball game or some other activity determines and dictates how your family views and operates around God and the church.
One of the major reasons atheism is growing in our church culture is because men (fathers in particular) in the last 60 years or so have placed high regards on everything and anything, (sports, money, jobs, hunting, fishing, video games, etc.) but the things of God (Bible study, Church membership, being active in that biblical community, and prayer) have mostly been ignored.
Because of this, it has had a trickle-down effect on children, so we are seeing children now not just ignoring the things of God, but rather becoming hostile to the things of God. So the bottom line is parents are choosing to show their children that investing in a ball and a gun is vastly more important than investing in the eternal things of God.
It’s time to change things! MEN (Fathers) WAKE UP! Take an active role in your child’s spiritual formation. How can we do that?
Make sure you are committed to a local Bible-believing church. What does that look like? You and your family are actually committed and active in that community, and not just on Sundays but throughout the week. Have other believers and church members in your home on a regular basis, and show your children what a healthy loving church community looks like.
Make time to have regular family prayer and Bible study together. This means taking time to get on your knees and pray with your wife and children. Open your BIBLE inside of your home, and encourage and lead your family to do the same!
Be committed to living the Gospel out in your city. This means, actually do something. Lead and encourage your children to do mission projects that actually will have an impact, and commit to helping lead others to Jesus Christ!