Why are more and more teens walking away from the faith? And what can we do about it?
This is a question that gets asked often and is becoming more frequent. Unfortunate no one but God has the definitive answer, however, there are some answers that seem clear. And I for one do not have this down and need to ask myself all of the questions listed below and follow through in my walk daily. 1. Kids/teens are very perceptive: They can spot hypocrisy very easily. So we must ask ourselves as parents, do our children see the same character and enthusiasm at home as they see us display at church? Or do they only see us pick up our Bible as we’re heading out the door on Sunday morning? Do they see you being patient and kind at church yet not so patient and kind toward their other parent? Basically, do you talk a big game about walking your faith out yet don’t make it a priority in your daily life...praying with your kids, doing daily Bible reading with them and displaying the fruits of the Spirit (or at least striving too) throughout the week. 2. Teens respect authenticity and “being real” with them: Do you feel that acting like you have a perfect walk is going to be a better example of Christianity than letting your teen hear that you struggle with sin and temptation daily, too? Actually no. Your teen needs to know you struggle with temptation and you struggle daily with pleasing the Lord. They need to see how to handle those situations first hand and know they can open up and share their own struggles with you. Kids of all ages thrive best when they can have genuine, eye to eye conversations with a humble and imperfect parent. They understand and perceive far more than we realize. 3. Teens mimic the behavior of those they look up to and respect. What are they seeing and mimicking most? When your teen see’s your character is the same no matter who is around they will look up to you and respect you. When your teen see’s you filled with peace and joy, even in the tough times, they will watch you intently to see how they can obtain that rock solid faith. When they see you making time for the Lord daily they see that. And when you help them actually carve out time for it as well, they will eventually make that a priority in their daily lives as well. If our kids are too busy to have an un-rushed time with God, then as parents we really need to step back and rearrange our own priorities. Really, when we think about it what is more important than the spiritual health of our children? Or even more dire, what is more important than our children’s eternal destination? 4. Teens are growing and changing so much, they want to grow and be challenged. To be honest, I feel adults are the same way. No one wants to work towards something that is too easy and doesn’t require anything of us. How un-motivating is that? So the question we should ask ourselves, are we challenging our teens spiritually? Are we pushing them beyond their comfort zone? Are we giving them challenges that make them stretch their thinking and their abilities? Find fun and motivating ways to challenge your teen...to light a fire that will burn bright for years to come...feed the hungry, memorize an entire book of the Bible, create a non-profit to raise money for orphans, widows or sex trafficking victims, give them tough homework assignments with a due date. Think about it, our kids are expected to turn in homework, pass tests and a multitude of other demands their education path requires. Yet, we don’t expect or require them to follow through in things pertaining to God and Spirituality...the things that should matter most! Things of the heart that matter to God and that will be carried with us into eternity. Our children’s diplomas, careers, money and material possession don’t. We must reprioritize our lives if we want our teens to put God first...we must first, as parents, make God our top priority.