In addition to being Steadfast Lutherans in our own faith and holding our pastors up to the true doctrine, we need to be steadfast in our training of our children. I know my own experience was to attend church basically weekly as a kid, then fall away from what little faith I was able to obtain in my parent’s church. The wonder of my first child brought me back to church and then somehow 5 years later to the Lutheran faith (when I realized how shallow the church I was attending was), so something my parents did instilled the seed in me. But the statistics below are astoundingly bad. We all know we lose many of our teens for a while, but we need to do everything we can to help them grow in faith and instill the seed in them.
Thanks to Wild Boar in the Forest (love his new header image!) for this pointer to an open letter to Christian Parents by Pastor Borghardt. Well worth the read. And pondering. And acting on.
Also consider Higher Things for your teens to help them see the reality of our faith.
In the name of Jesus. Amen. Dear Parents, I know you love your children. I can see by the clothes they wear, the iPods and phones they have, and how much time you give to them. They go from school to band to football to soccer. You take them everywhere and give them everything they need. Sometimes it seems that you have given up your lives for them, doesn’t it?
Christ. He literally gave up his life for you, me, our children, for all. He died for our sins and was raised so that we would stand before God, forever forgiven. That is the Christian Faith into which you and your children were baptized.
Holy Baptism. You were baptized into the faith of Jesus. Your whole life was washed, made clean, and forgiven by the Blood of Christ. Your children too.
Yet studies show that these days more young people are falling out of the faith than ever before. Only fifty percent of adults who attended church weekly as a child still attend church weekly as an adult. Only thirty-five percent of adults are currently attending church weekly who attended church two to three times a month as children.
It’s more telling when you consider teenagers: of those teenagers who attended church weekly as teenagers, only fifty-eight percent attend church weekly as adults. And if they attended church less than two to three times a month? The number of weekly attendance for those teenagers when they become adults drops to a staggering thirty percent.
The answer isn’t simply take them every week to church. It isn’t even to take them to Sunday School, Weekday School, Youth Group, and Bible Class. You already know that you should be doing these things!
I’m asking – I’m pleading with you – to take the time to teach your children this Faith. Pray with them. Read the Word with them. Sing hymns with them. Practice their Confirmation memory work with them. Discuss with what you believe and why Jesus is your Savior.
Receive Jesus in the Word at church, washed down your forehead in baptism, and put into your mouth at His Supper. Receive Him for their salvation too – modeling the Faith to them, living it out right there with them.
When they sin, forgive them in Christ. When you sin, ask them to forgive you in Christ. Live your lives as the baptized – forgiven, washed, made holy by Jesus.
I know you love your children, dear Parents. I can see you do. I’m writing to remind you to love them in Christ. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
An Open Letter to Christian Parents