CULTURE, NOT PROGRAMS
For decades now, many Christians have assumed that certain church programs are the key factors in a child’s spiritual development: Vacation Bible school, youth group activities, Sunday school, and so on. But the research study shows that these programs make an impact when they are connected to consistent habits of prayer, Bible reading, praise, and service. It’s the culture of the family and church, and that they integrate children and young people into spiritual disciplines, not the how that matters most.
Also notable is the impact of the parents’ example of reading Scripture, taking part in service projects, sharing their faith, and asking forgiveness after sinning. In other words, the more the repentant, joyful Christian life was modeled, the more likely children were to remain in the faith.
THE POWER OF IMITATION AND ENVIRONMENT
Research shouldn’t be misused in a way that transforms children into blank slates. There is no perfect parenting formula, and as I mentioned above, no one should assume there’s a surefire formula or method to bring about the result of a faithful kid. Don’t overestimate your power. The Holy Spirit saves, not you.
But don’t underestimate the Spirit’s power to work through the environment you create for your home either. Nothing Less shows that there’s power in faithful, Christian imitation. Children are more likely to repent and ask forgiveness when they’ve seen parents do so, and when they’ve experienced grace in human relationships. Children are more likely to aspire to faithful Christianity when they see joyful service as a virtue modeled in the home.
What kind of culture do we want in our homes and churches?
What space are we creating for our children to flourish?
How are we rooting our families in God’s Word?
How are we modeling prayer and repentance?
What does faithfulness look like in our home?
What are the songs that are in our hearts and on our lips?
How are we fulfilling the Great Commission?
Let’s ask these questions and beg God to work in us and through us, for his glory and our families’ good.
This piece originally appeared at The Gospel Coalition, published with permission.