March 15, 2019

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2 Peter 1:12-15

As Peter bravely faced the end of his life, he wanted to make sure the message of Christ would not be forgotten. In today’s passage, Peter could very well be recalling Deuteronomy 11:18-23 when he states, “I consider it right as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder.”

Peter’s fears were not unwarranted. It is sadly the legacy of the Jews to waiver in their faith. And the church is still fighting this battle today as we see the numbers of faithful believers dwindling, especially among our youth and young adults.

In a 2015 survey of theological beliefs by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research, self-professing Christians were asked to respond to a series of statements related to classic, historic Christian doctrine. In every answer related to these theological beliefs, young people between the ages of 18 and 34 consistently held heretical views at a higher percentage than older respondents. Young people who identify themselves as Christians are far more likely to hold views that aren’t Christian.

In another study, Shelby Systems surveyed 2,000 Protestant and nondenominational churchgoers who attended worship services at least once a month and have adult children ages 18 to 30 who are still believers. They found the following “Predictors of Spiritual Health for Young Adults”:

As a child they . . .
* Regularly read the Bible while growing up
Regularly spent time in prayer while growing up
Regularly served in church while growing up
Listened primarily to Christian music
Participated in church mission trips/projects

In addition, they found that parents who had successfully passed on their faith to their children typically were involved in the following activities:
Read the Bible several times a week
Took part in a service project or church mission trip as a family
Shared their faith with unbelievers
Encouraged their teenagers to serve in church
Asked forgiveness when they messed up as parents
Encouraged their children’s unique talents and interests
Took annual family vacations
Attended churches with teaching that emphasized what the Bible says
Taught their children to tithe

[This survey was conducted by Shelby Systems, a widely used church ministry management system and used in the book Nothing Less: Engaging Kids in a Lifetime of Faith by Jana Magruder and Ben Trueblood in 2018.]

In the Shelby study, notice the multiple uses of the word “regularly.” Instilling a vibrant, healthy faith in Christ is, without question, a long game.

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