Children and Spiritual Formation

A brokenhearted parent said to me, “I just don’t understand. I faithfully had my children in Sunday school and youth group but as adults they have no interest in God.” Christianity has told parents what should be taught to their children but little instruction has been given to parents on who should be involved with their children or how spiritual development takes place.

Paul writes to his disciple Timothy:

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14.

Timothy was convinced of the validity of what he had been taught as a child because of the lifestyle of those who had instructed him in the word of God. There was no discrepancy between what Timothy’s mother and grandmother had taught him and how they lived out their lives.

The optimal place for children to learn about God, his kingdom, and the gospel is in the home where they can see and participate with the parents living out their faith. Although there is a place for children ministries, youth ministries, Sunday school classes, bible studies, and small groups the most effective place to formulate faith is in the nuclear family.

Growing up I had little opportunity to observe the lives of my Sunday school teachers outside of the classroom whereas I observed intimately the way my parents lived out their belief in God in our home.

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