In one way or another, many of us are likely to be influencing the next generation. Whether we are in relationships with children because we are parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or simply because we are faithful members of a church, there’s a good chance you know some kids.
As a father of two young children, I was interested in a recent blog post by Eric Geiger called “Research Reveals the 5 Biggest Influencers on Your Child’s Spiritual Health.” In this post he shares five of the top ten reasons that Jana Magruder writes about in her book Nothing Less: Engaging Kids in a Lifetime of Faith.
Here they are: Children who habitually read the Bible, pray to God, serve in church, listen to Christian music, and participate in church missions trips and projects are more likely to follow Jesus as adults.
I was initially surprised by ‘listens to Christian music’, but on reflection, I think it is important that we recognize the profound shaping power of the arts and of stories.
It makes sense that these are the core practices that need emphasis. I think the challenge for us is to personally model these behaviors ourselves, to find wise and creative ways to encourage children to adopt them, and to persevere in the commitment (and joy!) of passing on the faith to the next generation.