There has been a wealth of information presented about faith and family in the past few years. Churches and families are realizing more than ever that they need more than a few ideas to succeed in imparting faith to this generation. We need a plan. It is with this in mind that we seek to give a simple “what do I do, and how do I do it” plan. The Blueprint calls Christians to become deeply involved in a practical solution that can change families, individuals, and culture. We firmly believe that together we can change the momentum of our nation where faith is on the decline to a nation where faith is growing once again.
How can we change the direction of this generation? We believe it starts with families.
It is when parents have a true heart for God, love spending time with their family, and have a biblical plan to impart their faith that this generation will be transformed. The Blueprint shows a step-by-step plan for parents to pass down faith to their children. In addition, because many children are without believing parents, it is essential for Christians across our nation to get serious about imparting faith to children and teens who don’t have the spiritual influence they need.
the ugly truth
“In fact, the most potent data regarding disengagement is that a majority of twentysomethings - 61% of today’s young adults - had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged.
Only one-fifth of twentysomethings (20%) have maintained a level of spiritual activity consistent with their high school experiences.” 1
These percentages are among the most optimistic; others studies suggest between 60 to 90 percent of youth involved in church reject the Christian faith when they are young adults. 2
“We discovered that in a typical week, fewer than 10 percent of parents who regularly attend church with their kids read the Bible together, pray together (other than at meal times) or participate in service as a family unit. Even fewer families –1 out of every 20– have any type of worship experience together with their kids, other than while they are at church during a typical month.” 3
God never intended the church to be the only place that Christians hear or talk about their faith. God intended Christian families to be the primary source by which faith is shared. Unfortunately, many families aren’t doing much together. Some families are missing the closeness with their kids, time spent at home, and the opportunity to share their belief in God.
Why are so many parents choosing not to talk about faith to their kids? After polling a few parents, there are several things that might prevent families from talking about faith:
- a feeling of awkwardness
- fear that their kids will be resistant to faith discussion
- thinking the church will do the “faith thing” for them
- feeling inadequate
- busyness of life
All of these reasons are genuine barriers, but none of them are beyond God’s ability to overcome.
THE POWER OF INFLUENCE
It isn’t just families doing this on their own. God is working within each of us to set in motion the transformation that is happening within us and within our children.
No one has more potential to influence a child’s relationship with God than parents. There is no way for a minister, teacher, coach, or friend to impart faith like parents, because no one has the time to be there for children as much as parents.
“The average church only has 40 hours in a given year to influence a life. . . . The average parent has 3,000 hours per year to influence a life.” 5
GOD’S THREE COMMANDS FOR IMPARTING FAITH
God’s words and plans are timeless. It is not a reinvention of imparting faith, but rather a rediscovery of His plans for building faith that we must seek. The basics of what God expected from us is outlined in one paragraph in Deuteronomy. In this paragraph God gives three clear commands regarding faith and family.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.
7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
(Deut 6:4-9, NIV)
We are to love God without limit. We are to love Him without spiritual limit, without physical limit, and His love is to pervade us wholly as a part of our identity. Out of that love for God we are to pass down the first two commands to our children consistently in everyday life.