The National Study of Youth and Religion recently released the results of an important research project. It represents one of the most ambitious and comprehensive studies of U.S. youth ever undertaken.
After reviewing the findings, we could not help but think about the connection between what is taught in the pre-teen years and how that influences teen attitudes and behaviors. As such, here are four key elements that can help your kids become devoted followers of Jesus for life.
- Role Models. Parents are the single most influential factor in a child’s spiritual development. The Lord gives moms and dads unique opportunities to teach their children about godly living. Through their parents’ lifestyle and instruction, kids can discover that they are personally accountable to God. Because some parents cannot give what they do not have, we are thankful for godly teachers who step in as spiritual parents.
- Influencers. The old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” is true. Other adults in a child’s extended family, church, and school are influential. The support, advice, love, and help they offer are important ingredients in a child’s faith development. The more godly adults children have in their lives, the more likely they will become devoted Christ-followers.
- Prayer. Andrew Murray wrote, “Time spent in prayer will yield more than that given to work. Prayer alone gives work its worth and its success. Prayer opens the way for God, Himself, to do His work in us and through us. Let our chief work as God’s messengers be intercession; in it we secure the presence and power of God to go with us.” Prayer is paramount in kids’ lives. The more they pray and see prayer modeled at home and church, the more they become connected and committed to God.
- God’s Word. The poem spells out, “Children learn what they live.” We do that which we believe is most important. If we believe that God reveals Himself in His Word, then the Bible should be central in our lives at home and in church. Kids will recognize the value and priority of the Bible as they see us read, meditate, and study His Word. We can help children develop a passion for God as we develop and model a passion for His Word.
Obviously, these four key elements are not new, but they do serve as reminders that the basics of our faith are unchanging and vitally important. Discuss each element with your team and parents. Look for ways to reinforce each point in your ministry to children!
Article from Disciple Blog