The Pain of a Prodigal: Why Children of Christian Parents Abandon the Faith?

Statistics show a rise in the number of people who hold no religion. 

Statistics show a rise in the number of people who hold no religion.  For Australia, an official tally shows a steady rise every 10 years.

Nat Geo reports that “the religiously unaffiliated, called “nones,” are now… the second largest group in North America and most of Europe.” They make up about 25% of the US population. As of 2016, the “nones” have overtaken Catholics, Protestants, and non-Christian faiths.

Where did these “nones” come from? Didn’t they come from family lines that had religion before, a Christian one possibly? History shows us that from ancient times people practiced their own kind of worship. Inside every heart has always been a realization of a being that is above and beyond us, whose very nature summons our recognition and adoration. Fast forward to the present though and we find in many people the spirit of atheism if not indifference towards God.

LifeWay research warns that Christianity may be losing its “Millennials”. “A survey conducted on adults born from 1980 indicate that “religion and its practices are decreasing and becoming increasingly privatized among the Millennial generation.”

This means fewer people now observe the faith and fewer join communal worship, fellowship, and prayer. Children are abandoning the faith.

How are Christian families dealing with this? Every member is responsible for keeping the Faith and passing it on to “their” next generation. These sad reports should move us to understand the reasons why children abandon the faith so that we can act accordingly.

Lack of In-house Teaching

Children are to grow up learning about God and experiencing Him primarily in the home. Parents should not expect the church to do all the teaching and rearing for them. Deuteronomy chapter 6:7 commands parents to “teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of 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 up.” Children must grow up in a home where God and His Words are naturally part of the conversations that take place.

Lack of Modeling

Modeling is essential. Learning impact is high when someone demonstrates the lessons for us. Children need to see evidence of truth and effectiveness. They must witness that God’s Word is indeed reliable and relevant. They must witness that God is real, that He is at work. They must sense that God is not just in the Book, but that He translates into everyday life. Parents can never be perfect. But, they can be perfect examples of how God and His grace can sustain and bless a child that is passionate about Him. There is no expectation to be right all the time. But there is every expectation to be authentic. The goal is to pave and demonstrate the path to genuine godly living so our children will have a definite route to follow.

Lack of Love

The home should always be a place of acceptance and support. It is where 1 Corinthians 13 must be practiced at all times. Family members must learn to be loving and patient with one another. The home should always be a place of honesty and training for righteousness. Judging wrong deeds and correcting errors are a must.  Sin must never be tolerated nor encouraged.  Forgiveness must come easy and resentment should never have a place in the home. Families must learn to deal with wrongdoing and be done with it. Parents should never over-expect from their children and children should never over-expect from their parents. We all make mistakes. We are all in need of God’s grace. We are all dependent on Christ to transform us on a daily basis.

Let God and His Words be in our daily conversations. Let our home be the place where Biblical principles are learned and practiced. And let “right” love be shared unconditionally. When God is relevant and when children realize that He matters, they will understand the reason and need for faith. And, we may yet see God-seekers in generations to come.

Written by Ana Menez

I serve with a training & equipping organization. I am also a freelance writer and I take great interest in writing and sharing growth resources. Reading is one of my great loves. I love it for all its fresh insights and points of view that help as I consider issues relevant to my faith life.

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