Hemorrhaging Faith - Part 2
By Pastor Mikel
FULLY ENGAGED PARENTS
Recently at the Canadian Youth Workers Conference, I took a seminar with James Penner on the Hemorrhaging Faith Study that examined statistically how effective the Canadian church has been in retaining it its young people. In an earlier post, I gave a brief breakdown of what the statistics discovered. One of the key areas that needed to be addressed from the report is the necessity to have engaged parents to respond to this current situation. Here are some recommendations from my notes.
1. Parents must embrace parenting is job number one. Your role as a parent must come first before anything else.
2. Parents must know they are “It”, both theologically and statistically. Regardless of what you may think, a parent has much more impact on the faith development of their child than any church can.
3. Parents must not force youth, and we must not judge parents. When it comes to matters of faith, parents cannot force their child to believe. Parents must be willing to allow their child to reject their faith so that they will have the freedom to accept it. And we must not judge the parent’s faith by the faith of the child.
4. Parents must nurture their own faith. In order to be able to demonstrate a vibrant faith that your child will want to embrace, you must cultivate your faith so that it is alive and visible. It is more effective for children to catch their parents’ faith than be taught their parents’ faith.
5. Parents must know that their kids are primarily shaped at a very young age. Building into your child’s faith is not something that can wait until they are older. This needs to happen through all stages of development.
6. Parents must slow down their lives. In order to have quality time with your child, you must have a quantity of time invested so that those quality moments may arise.
7. Parents must be vulnerable with their children. Parents need to be willing to share their stories of faith, struggle and triumph. Children need to witness their parents working out their faith in the midst of the struggles of everyday life.
8. Parents must know their child’s spark. What excites your child? Know what gets your child excited so that you might encourage that. Youth are fires waiting to be lit by their parents. Don’t let someone else with opposing influences fill that responsibility.
9. Parents must embrace and help build a culture of the church as the supporting village. The church staff and pastors can only do so much to create a culture that is supportive to families. It is necessary for parents to take the initiative as well to build a church culture that they want their family to be embraced by. The church needs all members of the body to be engaged and to be relevant.
10. Parents must embrace what is most important—biblically mature adulthood. If you want your child to be mature in faith, they must have a role model that is mature in faith to guide and mentor them.
11. Parents’ ultimate goal is for their children to transfer their allegiance to God. We live in a world that is fighting for our children's allegiance, and God has placed parents in a unique position to help their children rebuff these influences and embrace God.
To learn more about James Penner's Hemorrhaging Faith Study, please click here.