For thirty years the answer has been “NO”. For each of those years, nearly all protestant denominations have lost 70-86% of the children raised in the church (Barna research and many others).
Considering we start with only 24% of the nation’s children the problem is so critical that a half dozen at least of our major denominations are considering merging or closing their doors altogether. Average church closings across denominational lines are now 4,000 to 5,000 per year. The church NEEDS this next generation.
On this topic “Keeping Children in the Church” God’s word is VERY CLEAR. Deuteronomy 6:5-9, the second half of the greatest commandment gives us God’s commands to parents on HOW best to effectively share his word with our children. These four verses connected to the ten commandments and greatest commandment are supported by a flood of research and support from major church leaders.
Deut 6:5-9 God’s commands to Parents
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today (a reference to the preceding verses of the Ten Commandments and Greatest commandment.) shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
The essence of these verses is twofold: to SHARE your own personal experience with God’s word with your children AND to give your home a Bible makeover…God’s Word ON DISPLAY in the home.
Thursday, August 18 the author of the following article will present video one of a six-week home group series at the Topeka Salvation Army 1320 SE 6th St, Topeka from 6;00-7:00 pm, The theme of the video and home group will be “Helping Churches Partner with Parents”. Those attending will receive a free coloring book “Jesus Today and Every Day,” sample pocket Scriptures and other takehomes for EQUIPPING parents. The entire six-week homegroup series is also available at www.bibleparent.com.
Help the children you love
1: Get a Bible Calendar to place near each child’s bed. It is the ONE THING both parent and child need most…a REMINDER…to begin and end each day with thoughts about God. It will be the best 10-12 dollars any parent/grandparent could ever spend.
2: Explain to your children that God gave us the Bible to help us know Him better and to trust His love…that it is more than a book…that His power backs His word. Part of sharing any Bible verse is praying with the child that God would help move the verse from the head to the heart. Share how God has been real to you.
3: Raise a SEEKER. God GUARANTEES that if we SEEK Him we will find him. Motivating our children to want to know more about God is the skill of a Master Parent. A great first step is asking questions: “Do you believe God is Real. Does he ever answer when you pray. Did you learn anything about God in Sunday School”? There is nothing like a question to get a child thinking. A good second step is to ask the child what questions he would ask God if he were in the same room with them. Then share with the child that God IS in the same room with them, even though he is invisible. For a third step we can ask our children about their doubts and FINALLY the biggest question of all “How could you get to know God better; prayer, scripture, church, walking out of doors, Christian Music?”
4: Let your children SEE you using Bible verses yourself … perhaps a verse or two tucked in your pocket or purse…perhaps a verse taped to the dashboard of your car?
5: Put God’s word ON DISPLAY in your home…verses for windows, walls, inside cupboard doors, in a small dish by the TV. Many Christian bookstores have a grand selection of verses…OR… let your children download and color their own home decor at sites like www.bibleparent.com. Children will remember all the lives what is on the walls of their home. Make it a point to SURROUND them with God’s word.
6: When sharing a Bible verse always do so with love. (God is Love.)
7: Consider putting a little plaque with a Bible verse near the doorbell, something your children and their friends SEE each time they enter your home.
8: If you are single parent, tell other adults in your child’s life about your efforts to surround your children with Bible verses. Ask for their support.
9: Use Bible verses to comfort, correct, encourage and protect your child. Put some verses in a bowl and once a day or when your child has a need, pass the bowl… feed their spirits and yours!
(Our favorite website with hundreds of free individually printable coloring pages and “Pocket Scriptures” is www.bibleparent.com.)
10: Give your children a Christian Vocabulary. Focus on teaching one word a week, words like: faith, mercy, forgiveness, hope, fellowship, trust, repentance, temptation, renewal, rebirth, salvation, growth, fear, love, holiness, Holy Spirit, prayer, sin, risen, Divine, supernatural, prayer, transformation, evil, believe, soul, resurrection, angel, heaven, hell, satan, Christ, grace, baptism, disciple, messiah, omnipotent, parable, prophecy, rapture, sacrifice, tribulation etc, etc.
Raising children without God’s word is like running a marathon with one leg.
Don’t limp through parenthood! Let God’s word be your other leg.
–Charles White is a retired Christian pre-school teacher from Topeka Ks.