I remember the day I realized I had no idea what I was doing as a parent—May 11, 2015, when my first son was born. I thought I was prepared. As a nurse working in labour and delivery and the neonatal intensive care unit, I had been around hundreds of babies. I knew how to feed, swaddle and soothe them. I knew all the cues and developmental phases. I knew the signs for a variety of ailments. I knew all about postpartum care.

And yet I knew nothing. When they placed that slippery babe in my arms for the first time, I had no idea what I was doing or what I was truly in for.

At that moment, all my knowledge and training meant nothing when it came to raising my child. A wave of fear and stress and “What did we just do?” washed over me: Now what? My perfectly decorated nursery and app to track his feeds and sleep schedule were only going to take me so far. Now came the hard part. Now I had to raise a little human—a little human that I hoped would be a passionate Jesus follower. They didn’t teach me that in nursing school.

Many of us have no idea how to raise kids who will grow up to be committed and sold-out Jesus followers, because—if we are honest with ourselves—many of us are not committed and sold-out Jesus followers. Barna Group research found that 61 percent of kids who were involved in church as recently as their teenage years become spiritually disengaged by their 20s—not actively praying, reading the Bible or attending church. Many people have tried to develop strategies to “get them back” to church, but can I offer my humble and completely unfounded opinion? A lack of true spiritual training in the home has resulted in a featherweight faith—a faith that is being easily blown away by attacks from the secular culture.

Although many of our parents and guardians made sincere attempts at spiritual education, we were not prepared for what the world was going to throw at us. Another Barna study indicated that fewer than one in 10 Christian households are reading the Bible together during a typical week, and out of 11,000 teenagers, only 12 percent have regular conversations with their parents about faith. Which means that most kids growing up in Christian homes are not receiving anything remotely close to the spiritual training they need for lasting faith.

We need to raise our kids with a faith that prepares them for the challenges they will face. Think with me for a second— if you were setting out to climb Mount Everest, you wouldn’t show up at the base of the mountain having done a few jumping jacks and hope for the best. This is what most of us are doing as Christian parents—the spiritual equivalent of a few jumping jacks. We have little idea of what our kids will face and are not doing what is specifically needed to prepare them. Simply taking them to church on Sunday is not enough. We have to stop winging our parenting and start getting into shape to prepare our kids for what’s ahead.
Fewer than one in 10 Christian households are reading the Bible together.
We need to have conversations about God, about truth and worldviews, about Jesus and the Bible. We need to not be afraid to have the tough conversations because we, ourselves, have dug deep into his Word and are able to defend our faith with truth and gospel. We need to spiritually equip ourselves so that we can spiritually equip our kids. It’s our job—no one else’s. Don’t outsource it but embrace this momentous task as the most important thing you will do in your whole life.

That dusty Bible sitting on your shelf contains all the wisdom you need to raise up a passionate and committed Jesus follower.

Captain Bhreagh Rowe is the community ministries officer at St. Albert Church and Community Centre in Edmonton.

Illustration: Prixel Creative/Lightstock.com

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On Tuesday, April 27, 2021, Nancy said:

I think this is very important in today’s world. People are rushing everything, even development. We need to allow children to be children and the home to be the ones to teach children about G-d. Children learn by seeing and adults must show what walking in Christ is all about. It only takes a minute for a parent to talk about a bible story to a toddler. It only a takes a minute for a parent to talk about how Jesus can help a child when facing bullying or hard times at school. It only takes a minute to talk to a preteen about Jesus being a friend because they were left out. It only takes a minute for a parent to talk to a teen about testing boundaries, and that G-d and mom/dad will always love them!


On Tuesday, April 27, 2021, There’s more! said:

If you want to read more about parenting and raising little Jesus-followers, you should follow Captain Bhreagh on Instagram! She has so many resources just waiting to be used. They really helped me in my marriage and helped me create routines for my family. Check it out! https://instagram.com/bhreagh.rowe?igshid=1sfp3kt6c0pvj


On Tuesday, April 27, 2021, Concerned said:

This is an excellent article, but one coming years too late. So often in the Army attachment to our faith, our Salvationism and our corps was a function of how old a kid would need to be before a cornet could be thrust in his or her hands. With fond parental approval, of course. And then all was right with the world.

Well, no, and Captain Rowe nails the point. The family Bibles largely remained on the shelf as there was a meeting or a band practice to get to. Mom and Dad never read it and never tried to understand it to impart even the basics to the children. But was an hour of Sunday school enough....? Hardly enough, at all. At all. Ever. Youth Councils? Music Camp? Ditto. So many of our young people leave our Army largely because they have not had any grounding in the basics of Christian faith, or indeed what the Army believes. Perhaps one can play "Tucker", but can one really articulate what he or she believes when faced with the questions at the workplace or in the University classroom? And, better still, can statements of faith be backed up with hard that make intellectual sense? But hey, there were food hampers to deliver at Christmas, and stuffed back packs to give out in September.

We are reaping the whirlwind of what we have sown as our soldiers get fewer and older, conversions to faith almost non-existent and our pews empty. The priorities got sadly shifted over time, and Mom and Dad Salvationist only really have themselves to blame.


On Tuesday, April 27, 2021, Rhonda said:

Agreed! Now that you have shared the stats and laid the challenge, what are some practical tools we can use to accomplish this task? Is there a resource to use for those "tough conversations"? How do I "dig deep" and "spiritually equip" my kiddos?


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