George Barna in his book "Revolutionary Parenting" gives us the bad news about the family today -- especially many Christian families:
What does God measure? In other words how does God evaluate what is a healthy family and an unhealthy family?
Barna states: What does God measure? Our hearts. He created us to love, serve, and obey Him. So he studies the indicators of our devotion to Him. As parents, then, our job is to raise spiritual champions. That does not mean we are supposes to ignore the significance of developing our children's intellectual, emotional, and physical dimensions. But it suggests that we have to see the bigger picture of God's priorities and raise our children in light of His standards, not ours or society's (page 7)
He adds that we are "Failing by God's Standards".
If we were to gauge how well we're doing in this regard, the outcomes might startle you. Consider these findings from a recent survey we conducted among nationally representative sample of children between the ages of eight and twelve.
- Most of our children are biblically illiterate, which will become clear as you read on. Their ignorance of the Bible teachings corresponds to the fact that only one-third (36 percent) of our adolescents fully believe that the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches.
- Few of our children are motivated to share their faith in Christ with others. Less than one out of every five (19 percent) contend that they have a responsibility to evangelize their peers.
- Not even half of our young people (46 percent) state that their religious faith is very important in their lives.
- Few of our children take Satan seriously. Only one-fourth of them (28 percent) completely dismiss the idea that Satan is symbolic, instead believing that the devil is real.
- Salvation baffles most of our young ones. Only two out of every ten reject the idea that good people can earn their way into heaven. And only three out of every ten dismiss the belief that everyone experiences the same post death outcome, regardless of their beliefs. In fact, only two out of every ten adolescents (21 percent) strongly disagree with the statement that people cannot know for sure what will happen to them after they die.
- Most of our kids are willing to entertain the idea that Jesus Christ sinned while He lived on earth. Only 44 percent outright dismiss the idea.
- The majority live for things other than loving God with all their hearts, minds, strength, and souls. Specifically, only four out of ten live with that purpose in mind.
- Three out of four young people reject the notion that there is no such thing as God. However, not only is that lower than expected based upon adult surveys, but we found that fewer young people today -- only 58 percent -- believe that God is the all-knowing, all powerful Creator of the universe who still rules His creation. That result is lower than any we have seen in the last quarter century of survey work. A similar percentage (about six out of every ten) believes that God originally created the universe.
- Only one-third of America's adolescents ardently contend that Jesus Christ returned to physical life after His crucifixion and death on the cross.
- By their own admission, our children are confused theogically. Based on their reaction to statements like "It doesn't matter what religious faith I follow because they all teach similar lessons," it's clear that they do not know what to think about competing worldviews and belief systems.
Add to this last fact that our national surveys of thirteen-year-olds reveal that most of them think they already know everything of significance in the Bible (hence, they are no longer open to learning or actively studying the Scriptures). Also, most of them have no intention of continuing to attend a church when they are in their twenties and living on their own (Barna pages 9, 10).
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Steve Heartsill on Oct 25, 2000
A young teenage boy had just gotten his driver’s license. When he got home, he asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him into his study and said to the boy, "I’ll make a deal with you. If you bring up your grades, study your ...read more
Contributed by Bruce Howell on Feb 1, 2001
The story is told (by Ernest Hemingway) of a father and his teenage son who had a relationship that had become strained to the point of breaking. Finally the son ran away from home. His father, however, began a journey in search of his rebellious son. Finally, in Madrid, in a last desperate ...read more
Contributed by Melvin Newland on Apr 17, 2001
I like the story of a little boy who was asked if he believed in God. He answered, “Well, yes I do.” When asked why, he said, ...read more
Contributed by Steve Malone on May 10, 2001
A teacher was trying to teach her class a lesson about fractions. After the lesson she tested one of the boys who was in a large family. Johnny, she said, There are 6 people in your family. Your mom bakes a pie, and she cuts it up for you, what percentage of the pie will you receive? Johnny, ...read more
Contributed by James Wilson on Nov 23, 2000
Effective parenting allows children to grow up.
Contributed by James Wilson on Nov 23, 2000
We should not abuse the family with our faith.