A good friend of mine, recently made me aware of a new study that Lifeway Research did. They interviewed 2,000 Christian parents of 18 to 30 years olds to determine what parental practices pay off in the long haul. In other words, during childhood, what contributed to their spiritual health which continued into young adulthood.
The quick summary is they found that if children are involved in the following, they are more likely to continue practicing their Christian faith into young adulthood. They are in order of importance, with the first one proving the most important by far.
- Child regularly read the Bible while growing up.
- Child regularly spent time in prayer while growing up.
- Child regularly served in church while growing up.
- Child listened primarily to Christian music.
- Child participated in church mission trips/projects.
- Child’s best friend was an influence to follow Christ while growing up.
- Child is a female.
- Child connected with several adults at church who intentionally invested in them.
- Parents typically asked forgiveness when they messed up.
- Parents pointed out biblical principles in everyday life.
- More siblings seemed to have a positive impact, although minor.
Negative indicators that child will probably not continue their faith into adulthood were:
- Child did not want to go to church as a teen.
- Child was rebellious growing up.
- Child listened primarily to secular/popular music.
- Level of frequency the family attended church.
The study also found that parents’ behavior is directly related to their adult children’s spiritual health. Young adults had higher spiritual health scores if they grew up with parents who spent time:
- Reading the Bible several times a week.
- Taking part in a service project or church mission trip as a family.
- Sharing their faith with unbelievers.
- Encouraging teenagers to serve in church.
- Asking forgiveness when they messed up as parents.
- Encouraging their children’s unique talents and interests.
- Taking annual family vacations.
- Attending churches with teaching that emphasized what the Bible says.
- Teaching their children to tithe.
While there is no magic formula, or guarantee that your child will grow up continuing their relationship with Jesus, there are things we can do as parents to increase the odds.
If you are a parent who wants to see your child continuing to believe and practice their faith into young adulthood, I highly recommend you read this article and then put to practice the things listed above. It is never too late to start, if you haven’t been doing them already.
Read the Lifeway Research article by clicking HERE.