Yes, it’s important to teach kids things like the fruits of the Spirit. But we must also help them put on the “whole armor” of God, so they can withstand the attacks of the enemy. If we don’t give them the shield of faith…a solid, grounded, doctrine infused faith…how will they withstand the attacks?
Couple shallow teaching and the church attendance patterns of today’s families and the result is Gen Z having a very weak faith that tumbles when questioned at a deeper level.
I hear something blowing in the wind. It’s the words “It’s the parent’s job to teach their children these things.” Yes…that is true. But it is also the church’s job to teach children how to be able to do I Peter 3:15. In fact, it’s the church’s job to teach parents how to teach their children to be able to live out 1 Peter 3:15.
Whether it’s teaching children or it’s teaching parents how to teach their children, it’s the church’s responsibility to disciple and equip believers.
I’m afraid, we’ve gotten so caught up with “family ministry” that at times, we’ve lost sight of the role of the church in teaching and equipping. You see, parents can’t teach their children how to defend their faith, if they don’t first know how to defend the faith themselves.
Many of the young, Millennial parents we are asking to lead their children spiritually, were raised on the shallow teaching that we fed them and so they don’t have the knowledge to equip their own children about what we believe. If we are really serious about family ministry, then I believe it’s time we start equipping parents to be able to defend their faith, so they in return, can teach their children how to defend their faith.
There is something else blowing in the wind. The tune is “It’s all about relationships.” This tune says if a child has someone at church who knows their name and cares about them, they will grow up to follow Jesus for a lifetime.
That’s true…but not completely true. A child can have great relationships growing up in church, but those relationships will probably not be there when they are sitting in a college classroom one day, hearing about why the Bible is not true and evolution is. Those relationships will not be there one day, when they are in a dorm room, being asked the hard questions. Those relationships will not be there one day, when they decide to watch a YouTube video from an intellectually smooth atheist.
It takes providing kids with meaningful relationships and rationale if they are going to follow Jesus for a lifetime. It’s like an airplane. Takes both wings to fly. I’m afraid at times, we’ve gotten so focused on the relational aspect that we’ve neglected to show them why it’s rational to believe you can have a relationship with Jesus.
Can you hear this blowing in the wind as well? The thought pattern that says we live by faith, so there’s no need to examine the evidence. Or that faith is necessary to fill the gaps when there is lack of tangible evidence.
Hebrews 11:1 is often used to justify this way of thinking. It says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
But if you look closer, the word “substance” means “a substructure or foundation.” The word “evidence” means “a proof or by which a thing is proved or tested.” Our faith should not be a blind faith, but a faith that is based on a tested foundation.
The Hebrews 11 passage is very relevant in this discussion. It is in the context of the origin of the universe. Verse 3 says, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
A solid biblical foundation emerges from observation and working through all available evidence and facts. Gen Z is growing up in a post-Christian culture. We cannot assume they will believe the Bible just because we tell them to. We must take them back to the basics and show them why those basics are trustworthy.
And here’s the good news. If we take time to help kids weigh the evidence, it will point them to the fact that there is a Creator.
The complex design of our universe, the intricacies of the human body, the position of the earth to the sun and a vast array of other evidence points to the fact that God is real and the Bible is true. Instead of having kids just take our word for it, we have to be more strategic in letting kids examine the evidence for themselves.
We’ve been on a downward faith slide for decades in our country. With each new generation, we are seeing more and more people say they have no religion. With each new generation, we are seeing more kids grow up and walk away from their faith. What we’re doing is simply not working. It’s time for a wake up call.
This is not about HOW we teach. This is not about methods or styles of ministry. Read my articles and you’ll quickly see I’m all about kids having fun at church, kids having deep relational connections and parents leading their children spiritually.
This is about WHAT we are teaching kids. This is about WHAT we are equipping parents to teach their children.
Our job as Christian leaders and parents is to give kids the tools they need to build a faith that will last. What tools are we placing in their spiritual tool boxes? They need those tools now, and believe me…even more later in life, as their faith is tested.
We only have a short window of time to help kids get a solid faith foundation. We only have a short window of time to give parents the tools they need to provide their children with a faith that can withstand attack.
What will you do with this window of time? How about…
Helping kids see for themselves the evidence for why we believe God created the earth.
Helping kids grapple with the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection.