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June 3, 2020 2:00 am
Will my kids abandon the faith? Authors Sean McDowell and J. Warner Wallace realize this is a question on the heart of parents. While some insist that teaching kids the truth will keep them tethered to their faith, others believe that relationships are the key. In reality, kids need both. While there are a lot of factors that lead to a child's thriving faith, studies have shown that the number one factor is a child's warm relationship with his or her father.
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What matters most to us as parents is how our kids are doing spiritually that should matter most. What we do when our kids just aren't connecting around for Jay Warner Wallace.
If you feel like right now. Your kids are simply there in their teenage years and their resistance to the things a church eavesdropped on an interest in going to church you're having a hard time and having spiritual conversations with them. I get it.
We've all been there.
Now is the time to build on the relationships I just trust me. The time is coming when they will hear what you're saying from an informational perspective. This is family life to our hosts are Damon and Wilson on Bob Lapine. You can find us online.
The family life to the.com taking kids through the teenage years can be turbulent and when things are connecting around faith it's easy to become anxious as parents. How do we deal with that talk more about that today.
Stay with us and welcome to family life to. Thanks for joining us. I have to think as a pastor you're talking to parents all the time who have anxiety about everything everything to cuff. The culture we live in, but their kids there looking at their kids and the trajectory there there.
CM other kids go in and there thinking are my kids going abandon what we've tried to teach them first chance I get. I think everyone of us ignorant as they will pry feels that because were all parents and I can remember standing at the front window as my oldest 16-year-old drove away for the first time and just number one freaking out with anxiety when then prank is your what you're watching.
I no longer have control like we ever did, but you know you thinking wow this is a moment, transitional moment, and that is not just drive a car that's their faith in you really wrestle with that as a parent and moms. This is heavy on my heart. Every mom I know these are the things that keep us moms awake at night. We think about this for fearful. I think this generation, especially if so many new things going on with social media when it's on the culture that's changing and I think we are afraid of what will happen to our kid that she would grab midnight when you said that as a good TV land there I be sound asleep.
You don't get teenagers or middle schoolers and she would grab that I can believe in God in the next year like they're out way there's no big deal. They got figured out how I'm going about school and my that their teachers but the other peers are teaching on the culture how it's affecting them I would stay awake thinking about the things we've got a couple guys joining us this week who are going to help us know how we can kinda take a deep breath.
How we can get a strategy put together his parents how we can be aware of what's going on and be shrewd in the midst of the situation and these guys have been on family life today before but never together. So it's nice to have them side-by-side. Sean McDowell and Jay Warner Wallace or with the skies, welcome says is great.
Sean and Jay Warner live in Southern California together.
Sean is a bit outlived to Sean is on the faculty of Viola University, Jay Warner Wallace is a former LA police detective, a cold case detective, who has since coming to Christ applied his police techniques to looking at the gospel record to show the evidence for the truth of Christianity. Last time you were here. We talked about cold case that Christianity entrusted to Rick Mann that the two of you work together on a book that has just been released recently. That's called so the next generation will know and a lot of this was born you world Jay Warner. You worry a bad youth pastor writes that but I got saved I was about 35. My kids were maybe in the second and third grade, so's first and second grade. So where large church in and my kids did not want to sit in their children's ministry without our being with them. They'd never been to church before so they never liked, and dropped off at a youth at our children's ministry will be what the big church so I would sit with them in their Sunday school class about every other week or Susie would my wife and at some point if you sit in class and a big church here there every week. What's next and can happen what you teach this lesson, and we did know two things about Christianity week, but they had curriculum so we started teaching so I just kind of follow my kids up and as they got older that I became the coordinator for fifth and sixth grade at this church was about 500 students in the fifth and sixth grade there. Then I became a youth pastor is my kids were in high school I was there high school youth pastor, but that first year we graduated as they has a high school youth pastor I adopted that ministry for somebody else and I think every senior except for maybe one or two walked away from their faith before the first break of their freshman year. In other words, their friends and report back to me only other non-Christians you can tell on their social media. This is definitely don't have a Facebook but so it was you there looking at calling them and talking to them and they realize that it was no longer Christian direct Berkeley or Sonoma State or or these other schools in north and northwest it were rather hostile to the Christian worldview because we go to the schools and so I didn't prepare them for that and that's what changed.
Everything was that watching that first year of high school seniors walk away from the faith that I thought this is is my problem, but as I researched I realize this was pretty much common to a lot of youth pastors and probably today, most of us don't track whether our kids are graduating seniors are still in the faith. A year later we are consumed by what's in our youth ministry. Now I bet you if you pastors tract that departure rate ever. They are graduating seniors they would be pretty distressed and would have to stop and say do we need to retool and recalibrate walls relevant.
Sean, you teach the Bible you have taught high school students in a Christian high school. If parents are sending their kids to Christian schools. I don't need to worry about the suffering he had that it's definitely one of the stereotypes that I hear all the time.
In fact, being a Christian school. I kind of got the impression over while the parents would send their kids for me to fix them. That's really what was will fear and if you're Mr. McDowell's class then you're going to be fine. You're guaranteed you're guaranteed I'm thinking you've gotta be kidding me. I know how important, but in the big scope of things less important.
A teacher is then parents and other influences. It's important but it's shaped by that deeply and I think a lot of people to send their kids to youth group and Christian schools are concerned with behavior as long as my kids aren't smoking and drinking and doing bad things that I'm fine so yeah I do that but also think there's a lot parents like you mentioned were hungry just saying okay, how do we really do this. What is it look like to raise up a generation who embraced the faith wants to live it out in this world that is just confused and upside down and has pressures one click away every moment in their lives and so you guys set down and said we want to write something not only to help the church and you and help you pastors because you know as a pastor I find the same thing as you did as Christian school teachers that they're sending their kids to our church insert a step back like okay you got him you'll yield training but then at some point I think there is a intensity comes their lives like I need to be a part of this and so your you said. And so we had to help right and this is John's idea. He came to me in and we have it. We will teach Viola and we have a program there masters program in apologetics, and we recognize that we just use pastors to embrace a more evidential approach with their students. It would probably answer. About 80% of what young people say is the reason why they are stepping out of the church for a season that usually offer some kind of objection or some kind of unanswered question which is based in evidence based know how I reconciled evil I see in the world with the existence of God had away about 70% evidence stuff and factual claims of Christianity. About 30%.
Relational is a reason we write a book that may be a you pastors would embraced and learn how to teach this world. Christian worldview to young people at that will be to expand this to Christian educators and parents. I think that's really where the core both of us have done a ball through these jobs right and that's with the group that I think has the most weight carrying in terms of young people and preparing them for the next season of life. It's can be parents, youth pastors and Christian educators, and I think what we didn't want to do is give parents here's the new curriculum.
Here's a new program you become an expert this and pass on your kids parents don't have time. They're busy.
They've got stuff going on. I'm busy every time I hear some new cracking for my kids like guy just you take care of it. So our approach was not to do that is to say, okay, how can we help those who are gatekeepers. She students the most important influencers in their lives could be a mentor to be teacher could be a coach.
How do we help them more effectively use the opportunities that are already there in a gospel kind of manner to just teach them to embrace and live out the faith is not so much adding something new but same. Let's look a little bit more strategically and opportunities are right in front of us. If we have the perspective to look form for ways to just shape the thinking this generation. While that's a huge point to because I thought I'd read a book is apparent again. This can tell me a number one, here's all the things you been doing wrong, but that tells me that in number two. Here's a bunch of new stuff you have no time to do.
I don't make any progress with the with the up with it either. These three groups, so we haven't done that we've actually say this leverage what you're already doing. Make some subtle tweaks and see what happens. And I think there is a big thesis in this book that you have to catch this at the very beginning, or you're gonna miss the whole thing and that is the foundation on which you build a worldview and truth and evidence is a foundation of relationship and that's where you you talked about 70% evidence and 30% relationship if moms and dads aren't cultivating a healthy strong relationship with their kids all the evidence. Training on all of the apologetics is no wash with them is, here's the reality. I work with a lot of youth pastors and I work with a lot of teachers and apologist apologists tend to say this generation. Any truth they need arguments given the facts as a whole.
Youth pastor said he say we got to build relationship to them experiences. I'm looking at both St. actually they're both true. We need both Jesus came in grace and he came in truth, so the book has truth in there to teach to the next generation. But it's all through the lens of a relationship which is why each chapter is love begins love trains.
Love equips anaconda frame of when you think about it. When God chooses to communicate with us.
Yes, he sent an angel as he sent a book. Yes, he sent no prophecy and prophets, etc. but to ultimately reveal himself was through his son in person in relationship. Paul says the church at Thessalonica when I only gave you the gospel which is truth. We gave you our very own lives. We have to do both yesterday, but should be encouraging for parents and should be acting part of the we see his parents are how I solve this problem by kissing me with questions. I'm not really prepared to answer but it turns out that this combination of relationship and truth are tied at the hip. You will be the most influential with any claim you make. If it starts with a relationship. So parents, we have relationships hopefully on your concern and remember when your kids were in elementary school that was like the pub the most influence I ever had of my kids as a parent right and is a little bit older. They try to find other authorities. They rely on for certain sources of information will you happen to have all the relationship you need to get this done.
When they come to you with the question if you don't have that answer there to go someplace to get that answer and they'll settle for less than relationship with you to get the answers online. Some of the note school, a teacher, whatever may be, so I just think what we need to do is help ourselves to say were in a builders relationship is not either/or to both Dan and by the way to begin the book. There's a chapter Jim is temperate simply remarkable research on this finding all the studies over the past like really going into millennial's of why kids leave the faith and there's a range of studies that give different factors. One of the studies that really set out that to me is perhaps the most significant study. If I had to pick one is by a USC professor named Vern Bankston and E. Sociologist and they studied 3500 people, 35 years for generations from kids to great-grandparents simply asking the question, not just Christians but any faith. One of the most important factors for faith transmission they published in 2013 with Oxford. Their conclusion after all. His research was there's a lot of factors in influence, but number one was a quote warm relationship with the father, number one, statistically, that doesn't make mother's unimportant reality is fathers tend to be more for wildcard. The moms tend to be there more but just statistical research that relationship.
Like he said is at the heart of it, so that drives the book for us will answer this if I'm listening right now and I'm a dad who hears that goes.
Oh no, I don't have that I had it when there was a little kid, little daughter, son. He's 15 1617 he's pulling away, I've made some bad mistakes with theme with her man.
That's the number one thing I just heard warm relationship and I'm going my daughter would say I don't have that with my dad or my son. So talk to talk to that dad. I don't know what to do how do I how I transmit this. I'm 58 mice that are dad is 80 and my dad is not a believer I was raised in a believing home. I was only Christian and American ham Christian at 35 and my dad still is is on the fence of Gilbert Soffer that he was for a number of years. These two things relationship information I had to have both enough a lot of years I knew that he was not going to hear any of the information I want to share with them about the gospel he was just was bouncing off like Teflon. So I decided to do was to spend 20 years building into this relationship with him. Not too late. We were raised to get a divorce. My mom and I was three, so we are not were not like close like father and son were more like friends.
Turns out that I spent a lot of time that 20 years sharing gospel claims with him sharing the evidence making the case. He was also a detective. I followed my dad's footsteps so I me. I said I felt like I even understand one coming from.
None of it was having an impact. But last year I decided to leverage the relationship I had with him to get them to consider the claim and everything should I decide it is not an either/or is never too late so I do yet and had that come close relationship with him.
And that's the key with the father.
The first thing I would say is what sets Christian any part is grace socket do any good to beat yourself up. I understand regret. I understand the pain, but you know it that's where God's grace comes in and covers that and just start where you are start. We are the last chapter in the book because it's a book on how to at the end was like we give people a lot of ideas. I don't want people to feel overwhelmed. The last chapters entitled love begins.
I simply say shortly luck there's probably a ton of ideas here don't like you have to do everything find one thing you can do to start advancing the ball so to speak. So what's one thing this dad can do.
Maybe it's just calling his daughter more.
Maybe it's going to meal maybe think I take you out for Mielke share with you.
I just want Diaz with you.
I realize I failed as a dad and I wanted to better help me be a better day had it in 99+ percent of cases, it might take a while.
My not be easy but kids yearn for that relationship with the father they want it and if you're willing to stick with it. Humble yourself and anything is possible with God.
You, there's a study in 2018 from someone named a Jenna McGruder and Ben Trueblood called nothing less engaging kids in a lifetime of faith was so interesting about this what we just talking about is at the center of parents who had a better retention rate for their young people to stay. We stayed in the faith who embrace the faith that they were raised in the litmus were there characteristics. They identify like nine characteristics of parents who behave in a certain way and end up having the results with their kids staying in the faith, but right in the middle was asking forgiveness when they messed up as parents is justice, transparency, were talking about it made statistically we know that's even true from studies and surveys we do with parents who are or actually stomach repent of an update. How you say no to this. If someone has fleas that vulnerable right mid I'm sure that they were currency different a spectrum of responses from from kids and parents, but that is such that kind of humility is I think opens the door to conversations with the gospel and I would just say thank you. What you guys just gave us a me, I would say that dad and that mom listen right now at the end of this broadcast today is your day like I'm in the worded.
It's never too late. What a powerful word and asking forgiveness and walking in there. I've had to do that is a bad walk in there and say blown it, and I always will put that conversation till tomorrow for Hanover a week later our a decade later and when you miss that moment you miss it and I'm just into the dad in the mom right now. Today's your day isn't too late. The relay ship is and where you wanted to be. But today could walk in that room. Can I send that email make that phone call, whatever it takes. This is the day to start the relationship, which is good and incredible fruit that's easy because our kids can pull away and I don't always give us the response that were helping. I know that is teenagers. My boys were pulling away our boys were quiet and so we would try to plan. I think when we feel that rejection is apparent where like see they really don't want to be with me, but I think they do as you guys are talking about the dad. I'm thinking of all the moms listening thinking. See, it's my husband's fault fell even as non-maybe our husbands are in is involved even spiritually or relationally. How can we encourage our husbands as wives like to get more involved and even his mom's how do we not get our feelings hurt when our teens push us away with certain two great questions. I would say with a husband, what not to do is to point out all the wrong things that the husband is feeling like I would like to say that I'm humble and I take it like a champ, but my wife rightly points out things and just my defenses come up, but when my wife coasting goes you know that time you spent with Shane to realize how powerful that was in his life.
I love seeing you do that. I know you want to be good that not be careful not to be manipulative.
That's not my point.
But to find the positive in praise and there might be a time where you go you know what you realize what you did. I loving him speak truth to you but been encouraging and being positive and helping him see how powerful his voice is and that he can do it any any man who would be the kind of father that would do it doesn't have other issues he needed needs to deal with would probably respond to a loving and supportive wife that believes in him like that I think were wired that way when life gets behind me and gets excited just energizes me so that's probably not where I would start with with us but I just had experience last week, I want to share with you though I was at my dad's 80th birthday is, family reunion, my dad remarries got six children from a second marriage and they're still married and so they all the six kids came together to solve it. My desperate. That kind a surprise to those of a Marine exactly for your birthday.so I came in a day late.
Could I live further away. When I got there they had recorded video messages that they played on the night of the of the big party to my dad. I'm listing to each of his children. I can tell you this was a hectic upbringing that I thought watching from the outside looking out. I was as crazy is going on but I will tell you that every story from my half brothers and sisters as you were describing.
My dad started with is something that my dad did, in which he took from his family of six. He would grab that one child and take them isolated, one-on-one, and do something repeatedly and all of their memories and the influence he has had on them is comes from this one-on-one time he had spent time in every young dad should have to go to the 80th birthday party of 11. Dad was upset just like to hear this because if I do know that going in, I would've realized this relationship between relationships and truth is it's in those conversations where you're just on a one-on-one that you remember doing with your dad. That's where you have these kinds of conversations writing my best presentation of what I believe is about God to my dad occurred on the road on the way to Jefferson Texas to get barbecue. That's where that conversation without a breakthrough conversation.
Why does that happen to have is because it really is a connection between SOI was it appearance is if if you feel like right now. Your kids are simply there in their teenage years and they are resistant to the things of church they've dropped off an interest in going to church you're having a harder time to be having spiritual conversations with them. I get it. We've all been there.
Now is the time to build on the relationship side. Just trust me. The time is coming when they will hear what you're saying from an informational perspective and I'm I don't feel that kind of pressure.
I only became a Christian at 35.
You know me at 34 and he said did the Wallace little become a Christian, one who knew me. What is that there is no way that deserve her to be a Christian. Yet God still does things so I don't have. I don't feel the sense of urgency with my own kids were still all younger than 35 and a lot further along than I ever was at that age. So just be patient. God does these things that in this time of why you're waiting patiently. That's the time in which you build the relationship from which you're going to be able to share the gospel while teaching high school full-time at a Christian school, I headed a student come to me after class and he goes hate Mr. McDowell will have to do to get a C- in your class right like to talk about. I really don't care. I need to do the minimum I said why one C- goes let's what I need for my mom and dad to allow me to have a car. I said okay, here's what you need to do.
I mean, sweet kid didn't mean it, but just would sit back and do the minimal graduates. The next year he comes back and wants to sit my class was taken. I sit and observe I'm like sure I can after class on like what is going on. You wanted to C- now you want to sit and observe what happening as well.
I'm at the junior-college my professors a like evolution is true. God doesn't exist. The Bible has contradictions cheat like he was now a son. I realize this is important so I said to myself, what can I have done differently to help you get that in high school.
He looks me goes on. Nothing else. I just wasn't there spiritually. But you made more of a difference then you realize that's what parents have to remember and I think that's so important because I think the mom or the dad, the does what we talked about here today, the dad who sits down and says I've not been the parent. I should be on ask your forgiveness. I want to be a better dad and the kid rolls his eyes and socio-whatever then you walk out of there as a dead goat that didn't do any good.
That made more of a difference then you know so don't buy the rolling of the eyes don't think they're not listening.
They are God's work in the midst of that. Don't get discouraged. Don't become weary in well doing Galatians 6 right keep selling at the appropriate time, you will reap if you do not faint and give up now. I think moms and dads are to be really encouraged by what you guys have written in your book. So the next generation will know preparing young Christians for a challenging world. There's both a book and there is a participant guide if you want to go through this with other moms and dads. That's a great guide to take you through eight sessions on this topic. We've got both the book and the participant guides in our family liked it. A resource center go firstname.lastname@example.org to get your copy of the book or the participant God or you can call to order one 800 F. L. Today is our number again. Our website is family life to the aid.com, the number to call to get the book. So the next generation will know or the participant God call 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today. You know I think what we've talked about is gotta be at the top of most parents lists of things that were concerned about the faith of the next generation whether young people today, teenagers, young adults, young married couples are they going to stay anchored in the Scriptures are they going to continue to believe the Bible are they going to hold to what God's word has decided not just about marriage and family, but about everything in life here in family life we are burdened by that as well and so as we put programs together like the program you been listening to today.
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We need so that we can engage with our children and grandchildren around issues of faith and around the issues they're facing in life.
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Today is our number and again thanks in advance for whatever you're able to do in support of the ministry that tomorrow we want to talk about technology and how that presents a fresh challenge for us as parents trying to raise her kids with a biblical way of thinking. Wallace and Shawn McDonald back with us again tomorrow be back as well. Think our engineer today on the entire test on behalf of our hosts Dave and animals Bob back next time for another family. Family life. To use a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. Accrue ministry help for today hope for tomorrow