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Sunday Recap: Parental Influence


By Pastor Chad


In Sunday’s message, Eric encouraged us all to live holy lives by imitating Christ and leading others (specifically youth and kids) to do the same. Our call as followers of Christ is to “walk as children of the light” (Eph. 5:8), and avoid things of darkness. On our journeys, we are to lead others in the process of discipleship, to help Christians less mature in their faith to also walk as Christ has called. 


It is an unfortunate reality, but there is no guarantee that our kids will walk with the Lord once they have left our household. In fact, the statistics are quite sobering regarding this trend. I personally have seen stats that range from 65% to 90% of our youth will leave the church once they graduate high school. Let’s just suppose those numbers are off by about half, and around 40% of our children will leave the church and walk away from the faith once they graduate. That’s still too many! I want to do everything I can as a husband, father, and pastor to make sure all continue to walk with Christ. And we do that by cultivating an authentic faith in them now. 


There are no certainties in discipleship, but it is far more likely that children raised in a home where church attendance and the faith are a priority will walk in the faith as adults. As Eric noted on Sunday morning, the main spiritual influence in the life of a child is (or perhaps should be) their parents. If the Christian walk is not important to the parents, it is likely that it will not be important to the child. If church attendance and service are not important to the parents, it is likely they will not be important to the child.


I have heard some parents claim: “I don’t make my children go to church because I don’t want them to hate it. If I force them, they won’t like going.” Not only is that false, but it is inconsistent with many other demands parents place on their children. No responsible parent ever claims: “Well, I’m not going to force my child to go to school, because if I do, she will hate it.” Or, “I’m not going to force my children to stay away from drugs, that’s a decision they need to make on their own.” Parents understand they have a responsibility to guide and nurture their child. If a parent lives the faith at home, loves the church of Christ, and enjoys serving it, it is very likely the child will too. Our children’s walk with Christ is no less important than their study of mathematics and science. In fact, I would say it is even more important.  


The family is a God-given incubator designed to cultivate a rich faith in the lives of children. When such an institution isn’t functioning correctly, things may not go as God desires. Christian parents have a God-given responsibility to raise their children in the Lord. We can’t force the faith on our children, and we can’t make them follow Jesus, but there is no stronger influence on a child than a child’s mom and dad. Don’t neglect your call! Don’t neglect the responsibility God has given you. 


To hear the full sermon, click here.

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