Take a look at this chart from BuzzSumo.
I searched up the most popular articles of 2017 surrounding the keyword “Christianity.”
These are the titles that came up.
All of them are negative about our Christian faith.
Obviously, scandal and clickbait sell, but that doesn’t negate the fact that these articles:
- are what people are reading
- show how Christianity is being perceived
- influence how people view Christianity
- show the decline of the Chrisitan faith
Imagine a world where the word “Christianity” in these articles were replaced by Buddhism or Islam.
Not in our overly PC culture.
That would be called hate speech
With the passing of great leaders like Billy Graham, who will be the next one to stand in the gap and preach the true Jesus?
Train Your Child for Heaven, Not Harvard
In order to raise up the next generation of Billy Grahams, Dwight Moodys and Charles Spurgeons, Christian parents need to shift the focus and goals they have for their children.
First, as Christian parents, we need to cease pushing our children to pursue worldly ambitions.
Here me out.
I have nothing against children going to college, getting a degree and flourishing financially… with the caveat: IF THAT IS WHAT THE LORD HAS CALLED THEM TO DO!
Too many times, parents (even Christians ones) have fallen into the worldly theory that the goal in life is to:
- Get a college degree
- Get a high paying job
- Get married
- Buy a home
- Raise a family
All of these are amazing things. I’ve done all of these things.
The problem is that there is an over-focus on our children succeeding in THIS LIFE, and not near the amount of communal emphasis on making sure that our children will succeed in THE NEXT LIFE.
For that to happen, parents have to help them see that the end goal is Heaven…not Harvard.
Because as wonderful and needful are doctors of the body…we need MORE doctors for the soul.
Our Command as Parents
Telling kids about Jesus is a parent’s job. It’s not the job of the youth leader at your church or the AWANA volunteer. Those are great reinforcers of the faith, but not the responsible ones.
The Bible says this:
These commandments that 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. Deuteronomy 6: 6-7 NIV
I’m the first to admit that though I speak about Jesus often, lead by example by doing a Bible study, read Christian worldview homeschooling materials with them…I often am lax on praying daily (we used to….what happened?), reading a devotional with them (thank God for my husband who does occasionally). There is always more we could do, so I’m not saying we have to enter the rat race and chase the never-ending “perfect Christian parent” ideal but that we must take hold of our children’s Christian education. We have to be the champion of their spiritual development. We have to hold our faith out for them to see. We have to do more than is comfortable for our flesh.
As parents, we dream of our children becoming great people. We know their potential.
From early on, parents are the #1 influencers of our children. We have the power to inspire our children to become the next cancer-fighting doctor or the next evangelist. While neither profession is necessarily “more spiritual” than the next, they both have different focuses. But in today’s world, we need a few more TRUE preachers of God’s word willing to think beyond personal ambition so we can reconcile the world’s negative view of Christianity with the truth of Christ.
Hours Focused on Education Versus Hours Focused on Spiritual Pursuits
Think about it this way:
Eight hours a day, your children focus on their education.
From the time they are five years old until they are 18, children will spend 17,280 hours gearing up for college.
Compare that to a mere 1,872 hours of similarly-focused hours of spiritual instruction at church from the age of 0-18 (which is actually 5 years MORE than traditional education gets them).
Obviously, we talk about Jesus at home…but we also talk about schoolwork. Especially if your child has 2-3 hours of homework at night like most public schools assign. So those hours can’t be counted or measured.
This doesn’t take into account any reinforcement of educational topics in the media.
How many of our children can successfully navigate algebra equations by the end of high school versus how many children can successfully share the gospel message with their peers?
My guess? Not many.
Drawbacks of Over-Reliance on Higher Education
Maybe one day I’ll write about how I’m actually NOT a huge proponent of college in general. I see college (nowadays) as solely a financial institution that isn’t geared toward the benefit of our children’s education, but rather the lining of the pocketbooks of the rich and elite.
College expenses often erode at the family unit, as women who want to stay at home with their children cannot afford to because of giant student loans.
Not only is college a huge expense, but college is the #1 destroyer of a person’s Christian faith. Seventy percent of college students leave the church while in college.
Sure, there are stats that say about 2/3 of those children return to church, which, if true, is wonderful news. A sheep returning to the flock is a cause for celebration! But a sheep who spends time the wilderness of the world usually does not come out unscathed. The potential detriment to their foundational beliefs, their spiritual maturity, or the baggage of sinful behavior can haunt them and the Body of Christ for years to come.
Our Money, Our Hearts
Matthew 6:21 says that where your treasure is that is where your heart rests.
Many people will end up paying out more in student loan debt than they ever will to things of God.
As of 2015, more than 42 million student loan borrowers have student loan debt of $100,000 or less. More than 2 million student loan borrowers have student loan debt greater than $100,000, with 415,000 of that total holding student loan debt greater than $200,000. The largest concentration of student loan debt is $10,000 – $25,000, which accounts for 12.4 million student loan borrowers. (Source: Forbes)
We spend money on what is important to us.
These figures alone show us, as a nation, where our heart lies…second only to home mortgages.
Obviously, the Lord only requires 10% of our income. He recognizes our need for currency for living in this world. But with such a high percentage of our income going toward worldly treasures, we must temper ourselves so our hearts don’t become more concerned with achievements, accolades, and degrees than things concerning the advancement of His kingdom.
Read Next: An Easy Way to Find Out What’s Really In the Books Your Teen is Reading (Step By Step with Photos)
Defend the Faith and Defend the Church
If you send your children to college, that’s fine, but let’s make sure they have developed the character that can withstand naysaying professors and peers. Give them the tools to defend their faith.
Teach them to love your place of worship, attend small groups that dive deeper into God’s word in a relevant manner and inspire them to pursue degrees and careers that advance the Good News.
If you couldn’t imagine regularly damning the education system you’ve chosen (public or homeschool) without influencing your child’s viewpoint of it, then don’t for a minute think continually condemning your local body will produce positive effects either.
In your speech, be a bigger fan of the faith and church than of school (even homeschool).
For every pro-education statement you make, make two for Christ and his people.
Change Your Parental Focus, Change the Future of the World
By emphasizing Christ over other pursuits, children will realize the work they do for Jesus is paramount to any other work they do including raising a family, creating a flourishing business or getting an MBA.
If they are lawyers, they will focus on Christ over their own promotions and agendas. As social workers, they will pray for the system and speak life to their co-workers. As filmmakers, they will strive to advance the message of the Cross in whatever creative way they can. As parents, they will raise up the next generation to know the Gospel.
But in our current society, Christian parents need to shift their focus off of raising simply “good” kids on onto raising “God” kids.
If we can change our focus ONTO Christ, the future of this world has the potential to free the prisoners, heal the wounded and raise the dead…and wouldn’t THAT make headline news on BuzzSumo?
Head covering Christian woman who loves good wine, coffee, stinky cheese and missionary books. My favorite dessert is Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake. I am a Christian author, blogger, and speaker. I fell in love with my husband because he had rain drops on his glasses (true story). In my spare time I homeschool my six children (5 girls, 2 boys).