Catching Faith:
Parenting Matters

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How did we get here? More specifically, how did we arrive here with the form of faith we find today? Here we are sitting a couple thousand years away from the life of Jesus, and if we reach even further back, our faith’s inception is rooted in the history of a people whose story spans many more centuries before that. What was the method they used to transfer beliefs to the next generation? How did we even hear of Jesus today? How does faith continue to catch on? These are important questions, and luckily, the answer is simple:

Families.

From age to age, the great truths of our faith have always been passed down in relationship…parents sharing of God’s faithfulness with their kids. Surely, figuring out how to pass down faith to the next generation is always more of an art form that it is a science, and any parent who has a child that is old enough to absorb the tradition knows that it takes a lot of patience, intentionality, and “learning on the fly.” Kids don’t automatically absorb everything their parents believe, but they do take notice of the way in which their parents live, and the stories they tell with their lives:

  • Who their friends are
  • What tales they tell over and over again
  • Which bedtime songs they choose to sing
  • What it feels like to be around the table together
  • Where they spend most of their family time

Fuller Theological Seminary’s Youth Institute has recently highlighted a study showing that, although there is a popular belief today that parents hold less sway over their kids these days, the studies actually show the opposite to be true. According to a study published in 2013, we see that:

“Young adults today are just as likely to share their parents’ faith as they were in 1970. This is true whether you’re looking at religious affiliation (What religion are you?), religious intensity (How religious are you?), religious participation (How often do you attend?)…Across all these markers, parental influence is just as high as it was a generation ago. In other words, parents continue to be the single greatest influence on their children’s faith.” (FYI 2013)

The key to allowing faith to catch on in the next generation is not only parents giving their kids consistent presence and attention, but it is also upholding a consistency with the stories they live out together. Youth pastors, friends, teachers, and the like, all have a voice in the lives of your kids too, but none is more important than the one they hear at home. Passing down faith to the next generation matters, and the way it will continue is if Christian parents decide to wield the influence and time they inevitably have with them for the purpose of cultivating the seeds of faith that need continual nurturing.

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Parenting Matters

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