An Open Letter to Christian Parents, by Pastor Borghardt at Higher Things

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.

Pastor Borghardt
An Open Letter to Christian Parents

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

An Open Letter to Christian Parents, by Pastor Borghardt at Higher Things — 12 Comments

  1. Interesting that 2 children in football uniforms are show since there are many football games, including other sports, that are scheduled for Sunday mornings or afternoon. Schedules should be checked on before the child gets involved in that sport. I know it’s tough for parents when the peer pressure starts for both the parent or child, but decisions have to be firm.

  2. @John E #1

    Good points John. So many families bring two cars to service. One parent skips out right after the divine service to take their son or daughter to soccer or baseball. As Christian parents, we too often look at the events scheduled for Sunday and reason that we can handle those Sunday events. I have seen NFL football, swimming, soccer, baseball, basketball, horse riding and motorcycle racing all scheduled against church.

    As parents we need to say no.

  3. When I was a child football on TV if there was going to be something on TV did not start until have 1PM Eastern time! Today, they start while church is still happening. When I was a child those who were in a sport were usually only in one sport. When I was a child high school coaches urged their students to attend the church of their choice. My brother’s coach even visited around to make sure the players were attending church. His reasons–if you are not right with God, you cannot be good on the field or as good as you could be. Today–well it is really different. Girls are on volleyball clubs which only have their tournaments on the weekends because their coaches work during the week; boys are in their sport clubs also. It is hard to get the kids to do their memory work for confirmation because they are too tired after their daily practices–even in 5-6 grade!!

    Parents today I believe take the time for sports because we have lost the ability to make the time for the kids on our own. Now that mine are out on the own, the play with their kids as did I and don’t feel the necessity for their children being in all the clubs and sport programs that are available.

    However, I believe that we today, even with the the busy times we have are really no different than the parents of Amos’ day, or Paul’s days, or even Luther’s days. I do however, really appreciate the article in bringing these points into one place because I believe it points out the need for some of the “busy times” to be at the church with fellow believers.

    Thanks you Pastor Borghardt for your thoughts.

  4. I am afraid middle class white parents encourage lots of “extras” on the record in hope of getting into the desired college or university. They know that some other scores will be weighted for “diversity”. To get into a state school, being the smartest kid is not always enough.

    A “first in the family to attend college” gets breaks that I never saw as one of them, (but there were too many of us “firsts” in my generation). It would almost seem that our grandchildren are going to be penalized for our success and their parents building on it.

    All that said, I too wish we were back in the days or places where schools did not schedule activities for the weekend. As a teacher in rural Minnesota, we were told that weekends were for the family. We had to roll with the sports seasons, too.
    But it all got done.

  5. As a pastor who has families with children involved in school and club sports, I understand the difficulties involved. I have one family that have a daughter in club soccer 45 minutes away. The coach is very understanding about church activities coming first. I wish I could say the same about all coaches. This same family had a conflict with a cheerleading coach who said the young lady could not miss a practice else she could not cheerlead. The family cut a deal with their former pastor (another circuit congregation) and the young lady attended confirmation at a different time.

    A bigger problem as I see it is divorced families where one spouse is not cooperative about bringing the children to church. I have two families where mom attends with the children but when the children are with dad, they are not in church…either here or elsewhere. It’s sad. Such is the fallen world that we live.

  6. @Perry Lund #2

    As parents we need to say no.

    This is going to result in ostracism from the social power holders in the church.

    They have control of and influence on many church/school activities.

    You are totally correct but be ready for the cost.

  7. You are totally correct but be ready for the cost.

    Dear mbw,

    I am neither captive to the social power holders or the costs. There are eternal matters that take precedent over temporal matter which interfere all to often. When we downplay the making of sporting and recreational events as being as important as spiritual matters, we start the long slide to making them our false gods.

  8. @Perry Lund #7

    When we downplay the making of sporting and recreational events as being as important as spiritual matters, we start the long slide to making them our false gods.

    amen

  9. I am kind of surprised. My older son plays four leagues of sports per year and has never had anything scheduled on a Sunday. Of course, we wouldn’t have signed up for a league that played on Sundays. He played a couple of tournaments on weekends, but we just went to early service and that was only two Sundays out of six years of constant participation in sports.

  10. As one who works with youth and their families I can tell you that far far too many sports leagues are scheduled, conveniently, for Sunday morning. When I was growing up Wednesday nights and Sundays were off limits for sports. School districts and traveling teams just knew better than to schedule on the two “church days” of the week. That has all gone out the window.

    Parents have gone from criticizing schools for the schedule changes to criticizing the church for being too rigid in their scheduling of events “during sports”. Where I live, in the Twin Cities, there isn’t a day that goes by without some supposedly “good excuse” to take a child away from a church event. Competitive sports really has become a religion and false god that many families bow down to. It’s sad.

    I still see solid Christian families bucking the trend and I thank and encourage them. It’s good to see that some resist.

  11. I am not sure but I think we have missed one reason why parents seem to desire the involvement of their children in sports. “Babysitting on the cheap!” If both parents work and don’t arrive home before 5 or 6 PM, then a sport is the ideal place in which their children would be safe and away from other kinds of troubles. As a soccer coach for many years I have heard countless parents make somewhat of the following statement: ‘I am not interested in whether or not they learn the game, just that your practices don’t stop before 5:30 [or whatever time] so I can pick them up on the way home.’

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