Here’s what a recent Swiss study discovered about the influence of parents on their children’s church attendance.
If the mother regularly attended church–but the father did not–two percent of children would end up regularly attending church as an adult.
If the father regularly attended church–but the mother did not–nearly 75 percent of the children would go on to attend church as an adult.
Here’s the point, fathers. It’s that the single most important factor in whether your kids “catch” what it is you’re trying to teach them about God, Christ and salvation does not depend upon how great the youth group or worship band is at church. It hinges upon the spiritual depth and sincerity of you, the father.
Now, this is no slight to the women reading this column because mothers have a crucial role to play in a child’s spiritual formation too–just in a different way.
But when we are talking about a child’s spiritual life–and whether he or she is going to grow up with a connection to God–the #1 factor in shaping that spiritual life, at least, according to this study, is the father’s commitment to Christ and the church. Perhaps this is why God addresses fathers as the spiritual leaders of their home. “Fathers…bring [your children] up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
This is all very humbling and scary, but here’s the encouraging part. Fathers, you can make an eternal impact on your children because your children are modeling their lives after yours.
So, seek the Lord with all your heart.
And, starting this Sunday, bring your child with you to church. And, while you’re there, sing with all your might, hang on to the words of the sermon, steward your money as a worshipful offering to the Lord, boldly confess the creed, and reverently take the bread and the cup.
This is the best way you can make an indelible spiritual impact on your children.
And, Lord willing, they will catch your love for God and others and so will their children in the next generation. ■