We all have heard the statistics of young people who leave the faith during their late high school and college years. 50% of students will take leave the church and Christ during those years. While many do come back to the faith after these years it is still a hard statistic to swallow. That almost half of the students that we see in church will simply not be around while they are in college, wherever that may be.
So what do we as parents have to do to ensure that we are “developing a faith that lasts” in our students. Many parents may have the attitude that the youth or student pastor is the one who leads their student’s faith development, this is simply not the case. Students will mirror what they see in the home. Parents were meant to be the primary faith influencer of their kids. So the question again: How do we develop a faith that lasts?
There is a key passage we find in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 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. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
While this list is not exhaustive here are three things that I believe are important to developing a faith that lasts in your student.
- Spiritual conversations in the home.
What is talked about in the home is what will feed into the minds of our children. While no household in perfect and no parent is beyond fault homes who are honest and open about spiritual things in the home will be more likely to have students who do the same. This can include dinner table talk, family devotion or Bible reading, or one on one conversations.
- Students belonging to a spiritual community.
As students grow in their faith they need a place to express it. Students need to talk openly about their faith life with other students going through the same issues and helping each other through the tough situations that only teens go through. This is best done where other caring adults and peers share together in the struggles of faith in hope to encourage each other.
- Parents belonging to a spiritual community.
Students will mirror what they see. If they see that their parents value the community of believers they they will as well. Parents need a place to share things too!
Again this is not a complete list, just a few thoughts.
What other things do you think are important to “developing a faith that lasts” in students?
Thats all for now,