According to a new poll, 43% of millennials don’t know, care or believe that God exists. Believers everywhere see this and clutch their pearls saying, “Well, I neva…”. But we have to be brutally honest here and take responsibility, at least some.
What are we doing wrong?
We’ve taken God out of school. Many of us don’t pray, don’t read our Bible, don’t attend church, don’t speak up about our faith.
We’ve lost the fire that was in us so how can we expect the next generation to burn brightly?
We live in a seemingly hopeless society right now (if you watch the news or social media) and the foundation of our faith is hope. So, what are we doing wrong?
The Gospel is pretty simple
Instead of pointing the finger, we should be preaching the Gospel. I recently asked a question on my Facebook page, “If someone asked you ‘What is the Gospel’, what would your answer be?”. I got a wide range of responses. No one was in agreement. We can’t even agree on the fundamental basics of our faith, so how can we expect the next generation to follow the Jesus we say we believe in? Some said, “It depends on who is asking” and others gave a really religious response. I just wanted the simple Gospel. Jesus came, Jesus died, Jesus rose.
We’ve got to let the world know in both word and deed. If we don’t love, don’t act as Christians should, why would anyone want to know about Jesus, who we follow?
Kids notice inconsistency
We have witnessed the fade into the culture in our own home. My husband and I are not cradle Christians. We are first generation believers who converted in 2009. I was 36 years old and my husband was 43. We already had two children by this time and our oldest had seen us live a life of debauchery – drugs, alcohol, gambling, fighting, abortion, abandonment. She was even removed from our care at one point and placed in foster care for a few months.
We had this radical conversion – and I mean it was radical – that was likely confusing for her. I know it was for me at first. And that’s just it, coming to faith requires a bit of submission to things that we may not quite understand with our natural mind. A spiritual awakening (being born again) happens when what was dead in us comes alive. We’re like an infant – learning, growing, falling, getting up, needing assistance. But we were unwilling to admit this to her, and she saw our inconsistencies. We looked like liars, saying one thing, and doing another. We lacked integrity. We needed to be led.
We recognized our faults – but it was too late. We humbly asked all the questions until we could get the answers and then we sought to understand by reading the Word of God for ourselves.
Our oldest daughter suffered through our inconsistencies and she was damaged by our religious error. We were too hard on her. We didn’t give her space to learn and ask questions instead, we told her what she was going to believe rather than just loving her and allowing our pattern of life to prove that God is good. Now, she is estranged from us and we must accept responsibility for that. We got it wrong.
What I’ve learned
So, what would we change? Gosh. There is so much. Here are a few things that I think we’ve learned that are helpful.
- Let your kids see you repent. If you yell, gossip, curse someone out in front of them, lie, slander or whatever – admit you’re wrong and ask for forgiveness. Don’t try to hide your mistakes. Keep your accounts short.
- Be consistent. One of the reasons many parents don’t discipline their children is because it requires parents to be disciplined too. Consistency builds integrity and when we have integrity we are trustworthy. We are the representation of Christ to our children.
- Serve with your family. Find a way to involve your whole family in acts of service. This will foster compassion, empathy and gratitude. These are attributes that are NOT being cultivated in our society. Be mindful not to overdo it. We did that – and it backfired. Our kids didn’t get individual attention and “resented” the church. Find a healthy balance by allowing everyone to weigh in on the decision to serve or not to serve at a particular event.
Eternity is in the heart of every human
I honestly have hope for this new generation. I believe they are smarter than ever and so much of the confusion that is being shoved in their faces is getting sorted out in their hearts. Deep down, eternity is in the heart of every human being because God placed it there. If we continue to be a witness, sharing the Good News, offering hope to people and loving our neighbor, we will reap what we have sown.
Will you pray for our family and we can commit to pray for yours? Drop a comment if you have a prodigal son or daughter, niece or nephew, brother or sister.