Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Handing Down a Heritage of Faith - It Matters

Several years ago Larry Fowler wrote a book, The Question Nobody Asks about Our Childrenwhich took a look at how often children are at church. He said there are 168 hours in a week and research shows typically children are at church for one to three of these hours. If children only attend church every other week - as so many do, they are only there for one to three hours of 336 hours. 

The Pew Research Center's Study on Religion in America, backs this up; their study shows, "The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing, according to an extensive new survey by the Pew Research Center. Moreover, these changes are taking place across the religious landscape, affecting all regions of the country and many demographic groups. While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages.

It is clear we are not able to rely on the one to three hours out of 168 to 336 hours our grandchildren/children are in our churches to hand down our faith. We have to become serious about focusing on the other 165-167/333-335 hours which provide opportunities to impact children. This means we have to focus on handing down a heritage of faith to our grandchildren/children and are not able to just rely on the church with the mind-set, "It's their 'job'."

I do believe it matters if our grandchildren participate actively in a Children's Ministry and I do believe it is absolutely essential for churches to have effective, engaging and exciting Children's Ministry. But, we are not able to continue to, "put all our eggs in one basket", the "basket" of Children's Ministry and expect we will have enough influence to reach and keep children. The statistics just do not back this up. Of course, there are children who are reached by Children's Ministry. Children who do go on to know, love and walk with Jesus, but there are far too many who leave the church as they grow up. Far, far too many.

So, I want to ask you: what are you doing to hand down a heritage of faith? While the church is able to have a role in ministry to and with children if they are committed to engage all the children, the primary responsibility for this lies with the parents and grandparents. Look at Deuteronomy 6:1-9, 12a . . .
These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all His decrees and commands I give you, and so you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey, so it may go well with you and you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. Hear, O Israel: The Lord  our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. When the Lord your God brings you into the land He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful you do not forget the Lord
God gave the primary responsibility for handing down a heritage of faith to parents and grandparents - "Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates." This is talking about our day-in-day-out everyday lives - the 168 hours of a week; not the one to three hours of a week.

So, I ask, what are you doing to hand down a heritage of faith? It matters so very much for us to be intentional about handing down on a heritage of faith to our grandchildren/children. This is not only one of many things which are important; it just is important. If we do not do this, really, everything else we do will not truly matter.

Over the coming week, I will write more about what it means to hand down a heritage of faith and provide some ideas as to how we are able to do exactly this.

#grandmas #handingdownthefaith #itmatterswhatwedo #grandparentingonpurpose

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