Allow for Another Significant Adult
A very interesting study showed that 75% of kids who went to church in a strong evangelical setting walked away from the church between ages 18 and 29. Rather than seeking to find out what went wrong in the 75% who left the church, I’m more interested in finding out what things took place in the lives of the 25% who stayed.
Of those who stayed a part of the church from 18 to 29 years old, 5 important factors surfaced.
One of those factors was the influence of another adult leader who believes the same thing as mom and dad, yet were not mom and dad.
As a dad, I take this very seriously. I want my kids to have another significant adult in their lives. Someone who believes the same thing as my wife and me, yet is not the parent of my kids.
Why is that so important? At some point, kids will not want to talk to mom, but might be open to talking with another adult. This may not happen until late junior high or high school, but setting the groundwork during elementary school helps prepare for future relationships with adults.
Personally, I think the single greatest place for this to happen is at the local church. We have had the privilege of some great and consistent leaders in our kids’ lives over the years.
In these formidable years of preschool, elementary, and even upper elementary I want my kids to have the sense that church is a safe place. One of the best things we can do as a family is to make church attendance a non-negotiable factor in our rhythm and routine as a family. Consistent church attendance sends a message to your entire family about what you value.
When my wife and I were initially dating and heading toward marriage, we made the decision that church attendance would not be a decision we would make while laying in bed on a Sunday morning after staying up late the night before.
Church attendance as a priority was a decision we made long before we were tired on a Sunday morning. Some decisions are best made long, long in advance.
Listen, as a father of four kids, just let me say that it is special when my kids say, “Yeah, I learned that in Sunday school,” or, “Yeah my small group leader shared this with me.”
When my children were very, very small, it was likely that the majority of their learnings and inputs came from us - their parents. How beautiful it is when I see my kids learning things from the Scriptures from another godly role model.
I want my kids to hear the message of Christ from someone else besides me. This is truly a team effort.
Church is one of the most likely places for you to find another foundational adult in your kid’s life. Be consistent. Go to church. Establish a grace-base, yet non-negotiable pattern for your life. Your kids will find other people who believe what you believe, granting credibility to the message you desperately want them to believe.
- Recall: What is one factor explaining why kids stay in the church?
- Reflect: Do you make church a priority for your family?
- Respond: How can you establish a non-negotiable church attendance policy with your family? Who do you need to bring on board (yourself included)?
- Rethink: What are you doing right now to establish a relationship with another foundational adult in your children’s lives?