Announcing a New Writing Project

August 9, 2010

Today, I’m announcing a new writing project.

Well, sort of.  I don’t really like to announce things while success is far from certain.  I didn’t even tell my wife I was blogging until I had been doing it for a month.  So I’m really just announcing that I have a new writing project that I’m working on.  I don’t really want to get specific on it just yet.  But it’s a rather “bookish” sort of project, and I’m pretty excited about it.  I realized that in my time blogging, I’ve written close to a quarter million words, so I probably had enough energy to write another fifty thousand or so words on top of blogging. 

Now for the exciting part.  You can help me with my new writing project!

I am so amazed by the incredible community we have here and all the discussion that takes place.  I gain new insights almost every day from what you, the readers actually write.  It must be true that I have the smartest readers in the world (which I suspected when you started reading my blog, by the way.)  I’ve drawn from many of our online conversations and exchanges for the inspiration for my new project.

But now, a few months into development, I realize I need more insights from you.  So today, I’ve got a handful of specific questions that I need you to answer.  You can answer one or all of them.  You can give me a very short answer or if the inspiration hits, you can give me something more.  It’s all helpful to me.  If this turns out to be helpful, we may do this a few more times over the coming weeks or months. 

So, if you want to help me out, and be a part of something potientially awesome, here’s today’s three questions:

If you grew up in church, how many kids in your Sunday school or youth group do you know that stopped practicing their faith after high school or college?  If you yourself quit church after high school or college, why?
If you lived in a Christian home: how good were your parents at teaching you about faith as a child?  Did you parents do most of the work of teaching you about faith, or was it left up to the church to teach you what you needed to know?
How confident are you in your ability to teach your children about faith?  Do you depend on the church to teach your kids about faith, or are you better able to teach your kids about faith?

If you can answer any of those questions, I’d really appreciate it!  Oh, and if you know any “publish-y” type of people who I may want to talk to about my bookish project, that’d be great too.  Like I said, success on this is far from certain…but it’s still okay to dream, huh?

Hopefully this is a needless disclaimer, but: by answering these questions, you acknowledge that my blog and everything on it belongs to me, including your comments.  That means I may use your comments in whole or in part, and if they are published in any form, and if I make a million zillioin dollars and buy a swimming pool shaped like my face, you are not entitled to any of my Christian millionaire money.

38 responses to Announcing a New Writing Project

  1. If you grew up in church, how many kids in your Sunday school or youth group do you know that stopped practicing their faith after high school or college? If you yourself quit church after high school or college, why?

    I quit as soon as my mother believed that I was sick on Sunday morning. None of the kids that I was in youth group with are Christians as far as I know. What is amazing is at 50, how many are born again Christians. At my 25th reunion, the thing my classmates were most unlikely to believe, was that I was still alive.

    If you lived in a Christian home: how good were your parents at teaching you about faith as a child? Did you parents do most of the work of teaching you about faith, or was it left up to the church to teach you what you needed to know?

    They taught me a little religion, not faith. It was a tough road for all of us. Both my parents got saved on their death bed.

    How confident are you in your ability to teach your children about faith? Do you depend on the church to teach your kids about faith, or are you better able to teach your kids about faith?

    I used to rely on the church, a Christian School and a short devotion at the dinner table. Both my 20-somethings were YWAM missionaries. Both hate the insincere hypocritical church now.

    That’ll be 2 cents in advance of the contract. :)

    Godspeed on your booking, Matt.

  2. 1. I don’t know of any… but that’s because the only ones whom I know anything about are still going to my church. I don’t keep tabs on people, so I have no clue how many kids “walked away” when they moved on from youth group.

    2. I think my parents were pretty good at it. Homeschooled as I was, I got lots of larnin’ at home. But I was also involved in Awana and youth group and Bible studies, so it’s hard to say who did most of the work. So I guess it’s best to say that I had a fairly balanced approach between home and church/wider-body-of-Christ/corporate instruction.

    3. I don’t have kids (yet?). But I teach Sunday School to other people’s kids and they love me and the few times adults audit my classes they tend to say that they learned something new. …so my confidence is through the roof. Until we’re driving to lunch after church and I realize that I totally didn’t rock as much as I imagine I did. Thankfully, my wife is supportive.

    ~Luke

  3. Question 3: I think that can be dangerous territory, honestly. There is a tendency to turn deep, spiritual truths into stories about cute animals and cartoon edition bad guys and good guys. That’s what the bible was for me growing up and I completely missed the importance of what the Bible was saying. More than anything, you have to be a living example of what you teach. They will learn from what you do, not so much from what you say.

  4. If you grew up in church, how many kids in your Sunday school or youth group do you know that stopped practicing their faith after high school or college? If you yourself quit church after high school or college, why?
    Hmm, I think I know what you mean. I would say only 2 out of my youth group of roughly 30. Those two follow being a good Baptist down to a T. Out of the 30, I’d say 10 still believe, but just not in the traditional way we grew up. Like some of us drink, skip church, work on Sundays, etc. I think I’m included in those 10. The remaining 18 are probably a little burned by the Church and all the rules. I can understand that and don’t fault those 18 at all.

    If you lived in a Christian home: how good were your parents at teaching you about faith as a child? Did you parents do most of the work of teaching you about faith, or was it left up to the church to teach you what you needed to know?
    I did not grow up in a Christian home. We followed Christian traditions, like going to church and praying. But Christ wasn’t the motivation, it was just a social gathering for my mom and free baby sitting for me. Having said that, it was up to the Church to teach me about God. All in all, my church did a good job. My mom wasn’t interested in teaching me or my brother anything, she was a single mom holding down three jobs to support us.

    How confident are you in your ability to teach your children about faith? Do you depend on the church to teach your kids about faith, or are you better able to teach your kids about faith?
    I’m a little scared about teaching my kids about faith, like I want them to get it, but I don’t want them to be burned by the Church. I hope my life will mesh with what I speak out of my mouth about Christ. I think the church we go to will definitely help in the foundation of the Christian faith, but it’s up to my wife and I to train our kids up in the Lord and go past the creeds and human traditions.

    I like this writing project you’re doing. It seriously makes me excited and it is encouraging me to do something about my idea. I’m currently tagging all my blog posts so I can put them into some sort of order. I may email you to get some advice on this process too!

    nicodemusatnite.blogspot.com

  5. Oh and for #1 – The reason why I know isn’t because I spy on people, but Facebook tells all.

    nicodemusatnite.blogspot.com

  6. 2)If you lived in a Christian home: how good were your parents at teaching you about faith as a child? Did you parents do most of the work of teaching you about faith, or was it left up to the church to teach you what you needed to know?
    -I grew up with divorced parents. My dad got saved after the divorce and my mom did not. Every other weekend we would attend church and the kids classes, then go home and barely talk about it. Eventually, my dad became more involved in the church and starting leading a small group. While the group became very popular and slightly overcrowded, we still never spent much time as a family discussing anything to do with Christianity. I think my dad did not want to force it on us or have my brothers and I not want to go visit because we were afraid of getting “Church talk.” It was completely left to the church to fill in all the blanks and as a result none of the kids took it seriously. Church was just an obligation to keep the parents off our back.

    3)How confident are you in your ability to teach your children about faith? Do you depend on the church to teach your kids about faith, or are you better able to teach your kids about faith?
    -I am not confident at all in my ability to teach my children about faith. I am struggling right now in leading my wife and I (no kids yet) and it scares me because I KNOW I am not doing a good job. That being said, I will NOT rely solely on the church to teach my kids. Parents must be involved in every aspect of a kids education, both spiritual and educational. My general method of trying to prepare myself for these tasks is to read books on the subject and speak with Christian parents who have experience.

  7. I did go to Sunday School church/youth group growing up but have no idea how many left the church or are still following the Lord from my childhood. We moved around a bit being military and went to the base chapel and if that wasn’t great then went to a local Episcopal church. I have one childhood friend that I am still close to and we did go to church together and we still get together. She still attends Episcopal church while I am nondenominational but we both love the Lord. So there you have it, one for our side.

    Question #2:I don’t remember teaching per se from my parents. We did say grace and we were expected to obey the golden rule but it wasn’t until my Mom was in her 30’s and I remember she went away for a weekend and came back very different. She had gotten the Holy Spirit. I didn’t understand what that was at first but she quit smoking and so did my Dad and she started reading her Bible everyday. She mirrored what I was supposed to be doing. I went to Sunday School because I was supposed to. I remember a NASB being given to me when I was confirmed around 14 years old and still have that Bible. The Bible meant more to me than the whole ceremony. I didn’t learn my faith from my parents or from my church (at the time). I left the church at age 19 or so because the formality of it was hypocritical to me. Watching people be in the pews and say the words but not live it. I wanted more and thus I found a church through a friend that pointed me on the better road.

    Question #3: We have one child who is now in seminary so we must have done something right. We were constantly teaching him, trying to point him to what the Bible says, what God is telling us yet trying to be real at the same time. We didn’t put on a show. We let him see the good and bad as we have gone through church splits, cults (thank God he was too young to remember that one), ups and downs of church life. We tend to be the more rebellious you could say demanding more of Holy Spirit and questioning the status quo and thus we are in the position of trying to find a different church for the past year or so which brings up the fact that there is no perfect church. He has calmly watched us and I know it has influenced him and his decisions and walk. At this point, at age 23, he is making his own church choices. We continue to support him and not tell him where he has to go but give him the freedom to fail or triumph on his own. We continue to question and grow in the midst of all.

    • @Karen – wow, we have a lot in common. I attended the Charismatic Episcopalian church when I got saved, messed with the Way Ministry cult, and I heavily question a lot of “church” stuff. I like the little non-denominational church I am at now because they love people, love Jesus, and recognize the need for spiritual wellness. They preach a simple gospel, encourage the gifts, relationship and accountability.

  8. If you grew up in church, how many kids in your Sunday school or youth group do you know that stopped practicing their faith after high school or college? If you yourself quit church after high school or college, why?

    I quit church after I moved out and went to college. I got NOTHING out of church in my young years and only went because my parents made me. When I didn’t live at home, heck no did I go back. I didn’t land back in a church until I was married and pregnant with my second child. And only then did I do it because I thought “all good parents raise their kids in church”. God had a big plan for me in that attitude…I was just ignorantly unaware. That church is where I met the true and living Jesus Christ…and I havent’ been the same since!

    If you lived in a Christian home: how good were your parents at teaching you about faith as a child? Did you parents do most of the work of teaching you about faith, or was it left up to the church to teach you what you needed to know?

    I grew up in a religious home, but not what I’d call a Christian home. Most of what I was taught as a child, my parents relied on the church to teach me. We worshipped God on Sunday and Wednesday, but never invited Him into our lives.

    How confident are you in your ability to teach your children about faith? Do you depend on the church to teach your kids about faith, or are you better able to teach your kids about faith?

    I’m not what I’d call “confident” in my ability, but I am extremely confident God’s Word never returns void and I’m very careful to live what I believe so my kids will know it’s the real deal. I am grateful we are a part of a Bible believing church that edifies my girls, but my husband and I don’t rely on our church to teach our kids about Christ…that’s our job.

  9. Great comments so far – this is exactly what I’m looking for. Thanks so much! Keep them coming.

  10. 1)
    I think for me, I saw the biggest drop of kids not coming to church regularly once they got their driver’s licenses and the freedom that came with them. That being said, out of the people who I know are Christians(due to conversations, watching them serve, etc) I’d say very few have fallen yet. Granted it’s only been a matter of months since we’ve graduated and I am referencing those many people would call “Student Leaders” but when I look around at my friends, I am happy with how they are doing.
    2)
    For me it was both. My parents were examples of Christian Adults, but when it came to actually teaching the Bible, my Church did that. My parents made sure that I was always there, but my church was the one that did the job.
    3)I can’t comprehend having kids yet, but because I have served with 5th/6th graders for almost 5 years, I know I am able to teach them I just have to transfer that to working with MY kids.

  11. Thanks for the opportunity to share Matt!

    #1 All but one in my youth group moved away from church after high school. While in college, I took an agnostic detour that consumed nearly 20 years of my life…sadly. I saw the negatives attached to church and not the body of Christ the church is called to be. That lead to justification on my part to turn from the religious empire I viewed church to be. In reality, I was just spiritually lazy.

    #2 My mother was the spiritual lead in our home. She was the daughter of a pastor who died while she was still young. Mom was very knowledgeable about Scripture but not so much about theology. When I needed deeper answer, she became frustrated at my ‘lack of faith’ in God. My dad never attended church or provided any spiritual guidance to me, but he did have a strong moral compass. I learned more from the diverse opinions and experiences at church than at home…but mom did try.

    #3 I hold to the belief God expects me to be the spiritual head of my home. Since rededicating my life to God, He is first in our house…period. Nothing can displace that fact. God is also first in my marriage. By providing these examples to my children, I think I am the first line of instruction for them. The church, however, is vital also. Exposure to different styles and methods of biblical instruction are important today more than in years past. We often hear about the global economy but neglect to acknowledge we actually live in a global society with blending beliefs and cultures. I challenge my family to know and understand why each believes what they believe (include my spouse)…not to just accept it because it’s the way I see it.

  12. I don’t know on #1, but my old youth pastor actually did a sabbatical study where he traveled around to visit kids he had led over a twenty year period, asking what shaped them as youth and how their faith has changed in adulthood. His name is Dave Seely at Middletown Christian Church in Louisville, KY, if you are interested in contacting him about what he discovered.

    #2: My parents did not really teach me about “the faith” but emphasized certain moral values–namely, about the evils of premarital sex.

    #3: My husband and I both have divinity school degrees (MDiv and MTS) so I’m pretty confident in our ability to teach our children about faith, the Bible, and to think critically about moral and theological issues. Those are topics of normal conversation in our home. Our first child is only 18 months now, so to date, her theological education has mainly been in the way I change song lyrics from “Jesus loves the little children” to “Jesus loves all the people.”

  13. If you grew up in church, how many kids in your Sunday school or youth group do you know that stopped practicing their faith after high school or college? If you yourself quit church after high school or college, why?

    I am only in touch with five friends from my high school youth groups. Of those five, I think only two seem like they are still involved in church or interested in spiritual things. One seems indifferent, while two have fallen away completely. I am in touch with many friends from my college church group and campus ministry groups. Most of these friends still seem to be involved in church and active in ministries. It seems like that on FB, anyway. I did not “quit” church until within the past year. I’m in my mid-30s now, so college was a while ago. My biggest reasons for leaving church were doubts about my faith and the overwhelming disconnect and isolation I have felt while attending church.

    How confident are you in your ability to teach your children about faith? Do you depend on the church to teach your kids about faith, or are you better able to teach your kids about faith?

    Oof…I am not at all confident about teaching our three kids about faith. This worries me, as they are all schoolage now and open to learning whatever comes their way. I am afraid that I am teaching them how to question truth more than accept it, and passing on my cynical worldview instead of a biblical worldview. My husband goes through the motions of attending church and “talking the talk,” but the truth is that we do not pray, do family devotions, or any of the “Christian family” sorts of things we used to envision back when we were young marrieds.

  14. As to the disclaimer: I hope you do need it and that you become a Christian millionaire with a face-shaped pool. Maybe an afternoon swim some day?

    As to the second question: I was raised in a Christian home, and the home and the church were sort of the same thing. Dad was the pastor of the church. Both parents were very good at the teaching of Christian principles. We had “family worship” every day, regardless of other obligations. Scripture was read and discussed, and each family member participated in prayer. And trust me, if there was a service (and there were many) I was in church!

  15. If you grew up in church, how many kids in your Sunday school or youth group do you know that stopped practicing their faith after high school or college? If you yourself quit church after high school or college, why?
    I have no idea what happened to most of them. Growing up, I was the child kids loved to hate. Fat, awkward only child… I don’t refuse FB friend requests from these people, but I have no desire to look them up.

    If you lived in a Christian home: how good were your parents at teaching you about faith as a child? Did you parents do most of the work of teaching you about faith, or was it left up to the church to teach you what you needed to know?
    My parents taught me to pray, they taught me about Jesus, and they encouraged me love Him and act on that love. My parents were not Church goers, though they sent me to CCD (“Sunday School” for Catholics that meets on a day that isn’t Sunday….)
    Though I find participating in Church to be important to me now, I think I was better off with their mistake being not attending Church than if they had and their mistake would have been depending on CCD and Church for my Christian formation. Parents are the primary educators of their children, and faith is too important of a thing to depend on others for..

    How confident are you in your ability to teach your children about faith? Do you depend on the church to teach your kids about faith, or are you better able to teach your kids about faith?
    I was not blessed with children of my own. I hope I would be confident in teaching my own children about faith if I had any, considering that I have spent 16 years teaching CCD. I do find that many if not most parents seem to be depending on me and my colleagues to teach their children about God. My colleagues and I, however, find involving parents and teaching them to be part of our “job description” (in quotes because we are actually volunteers..). Parents who need coaxing, in my opinion, seem more like they lack confidence rather than willingness. I think they are used to depending on experts to teach their children academics, and therefore rely on “experts” to teach their children the faith. The sad thing is, I am not an “expert”. I am their sister in Christ, who is still learning and hopefully growing in faith. If I waited until I was an expert to teach CCD, I’d have to wait until I’m dead, and even then I may not have all my questions answered…

    If you find anything I wrote usable in your book, try to make me look good. I don’t want to be an embarrassment to my Church.

    Good luck / God bless your book writing endeavor.

  16. 2. My parents did an excellent job teaching me about my faith and the Bible. I was surprised when I went to Bible college by how little so many other students knew. That’s when I finally realized a big difference between my parents and most Christian parents. They didn’t give the church a chance to do their job. They did it themselves.

    3. I feel very confident in our ability to train our son. I also take very seriously the responsibility. Deuteronomy 6 commissions parents to be constantly teaching their children about God’s commandments. The reality is that the church cannot adequately train your child. Children that attend church do so for one to four hours per week, but there are 168 hours in the week, and usually at least 112 of those hours are spent awake. The church can teach your child the truth, but it’s your job to enforce that truth and live it in front of them. I am a children’s pastor, and I freely admit that we are not qualified to do the job of a parent.

  17. Hi again! I just blogged about #2/3–elaborating on my response above–and linked over here. Just FYI. Sounds like you’ve got a good book going!
    http://mattandjesskelley.blogspot.com/2010/08/jesus-loves-all-people.html

  18. I didn’t learn as much at home as I did in going to a Christian school for all but kindergarten. It wasn’t perfect, but I appreciate what I received there so much.

    As far as my kids, they go to Sunday school (they are pastor’s kids after all), but more importantly, my wife and I try to use everyday examples of God working or illustration of scripture in life. We also try to model what it means to be a Christian, warts and all. We don’t measure up many times (and I take a big share of blame on that end), but I do feel we are teaching them about the value of faith and knowing Jesus in our lives every day.

  19. 1st of all, congrats on your “bookish” project! Exciting stuff, Matt!

    “How confident are you in your ability to teach your children about faith? Do you depend on the church to teach your kids about faith, or are you better able to teach your kids about faith?”

    Pretty confident. I don’t depend on the church to do it. It’s pretty easy to see that the 1 hour my daughter gets in the kids area at church each week isn’t going to cut it for teaching her about God.

    1 hour a week doesn’t cut it for an adult with a lifetime of experience under their belt…how much less is that acceptable for a child? :)

    So though I don’t necessarily think I’m better ‘able’ to do it, I certainly have more potential time to put into it.

  20. 1. I know that of a youth group of about 20, at least 5 left the church, 4 of which (a long time ago now) essentially renounced all. I didn’t keep in touch with them, so i don’t know if they never returned. The 1 i do know, & she believed & struggled, but because of the unhealthy teaching in our church, she always believed herself to be a “goat” – un-savable, although she continued to attend a church. I’ve lost touch with her now too. All these folks were older than i. Of the kids in my own age group (about 5) i know 1 still is churched & always has been, but i only know this because of Facebook.

    2. I grew up in a Christian home, but frankly, my mother was sick. She spent much time listening to Christian radio, & was abusive if we interrupted her programs. None of us (i have 2 sisters) are able to listen to Christian radio at all. But we are all still church-attenders (tho not the type of church my parents attend) & we seek to follow Jesus. So something happened, but i can’t begin to tell you what. Maybe, even tho we didn’t “feel” it, we actually met with the Living God who has sustained us. I know my parents meant well, but i really can’t imagine a childhood much more hellish. It could have been, of course, because we weren’t severely abused. But the total lack of love in that home & the sucking negativity was like a black hole. All three of us have made poor (but different) adult choices based on the fact that we felt totally un-lovable.

    3. I think i would fear this if we had children, although at times i feel confident, but it is a non-issue. At my age & after 3 miscarriages, it is clear we won’t be having children.

  21. If you grew up in church, how many kids in your Sunday school or youth group do you know that stopped practicing their faith after high school or college? If you yourself quit church after high school or college, why?
    I don’t know too many that stopped practicing all together, but quite a few of them became bored with it and only go every once in a while. Some of them are not on fire like they used to be in high school. I go through spurts of the same thing

    If you lived in a Christian home: how good were your parents at teaching you about faith as a child? Did you parents do most of the work of teaching you about faith, or was it left up to the church to teach you what you needed to know?
    My parents were okay at teaching. They were the ones that brought us to church and made us go every Sunday. However, they have grown immensely during my college years and I think if they could do it all over again with the faith they have now, they would do more teaching.

    How confident are you in your ability to teach your children about faith? Do you depend on the church to teach your kids about faith, or are you better able to teach your kids about faith?
    I don’t have children yet, but as a youth worker, I’m hoping that when I do have kids I will be able to integrate faith into their everyday lives.

  22. 1)My family moved between 8th & 9th grade, so I’ll talk about my 7th-8th grade youth group since those are the kids I really “grew up” with. Of the 15 or so that I still marginally keep up with (yay for Facebook), I’d say that about 5 of us are still pretty rooted in the faith, probably 5 of us are at least paying lip service and/or semi-regular attenders, and probably 5 (including my own brother) have either gradually left or only come on very rare occasions and spend the rest of the time partying (yes, even in our mid-thirties). I don’t know of anyone who has “left the church,” they just don’t all go or live the life anymore. During my college years, I discovered that God doesn’t strike you down for missing Sunday School or even (gasp) Sunday morning worship, but I finished college, decided it was time to be an adult, and started getting serious about it again. Which resulted (at least partially) in a break-up with my boyfriend of three years, giving me more time and inclination to come back. One story that I’m encouraged by though is the story of a girl a couple of years older than me in our youth group. At 16, she got pregnant and the dad shortly thereafter lost a game of Russian Roulette. Over the years, she had three other children by various men (at least one a husband for a while), but when her youngest was already in grade school, she got pregnant again. At that point, it was cheaper for her to stay home with her son than put him in daycare and work, so her mom (faithful attender at our church throughout the years) invited her to our new MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group and she was bored/lonely enough that she came. Since she started coming to MOPS, she and her older kids have started coming back to church regularly (as is the father of her youngest). There hasn’t yet been an obvious outward lifestyle change (outside of attendance), but she’s taking steps back in the right direction!

    2) My dad is a Baptist minister (of music and sometimes youth) and my mom is a natural teacher. I don’t remember explicit “instruction” per se from either (although my dad was my youth minster all growing up, so I “probably” sat in a Bible study or two with him), but I remember waking up to my dad on his prayer stool, doing his morning devotions. And I know my mom used many “teachable moments” to instruct us on things like Creation vs. Evolution (my 5th grade science project on the evidences of Creation actually won our school science fair), virtues (we were a Gothard family, so my parents still have their animal characteristics books and we’d occasionally play the Gothard games), and sanctity of life (I got to skip school a couple of times for the March for Life in DC since we lived near by), among other things. I think I can count on one hand the number of times I missed Sunday School, etc. as a child (and by “etc.” I mean every single thing there was for children and there actually used to be quite a bit!), so I guess I learned a lot there too. At 8, I’d play “Bible Trivia” against adults and they’d make me use the “adult” cards instead of the “children’s” cards.

    3) My kids are 3.5 and 1.5 (and in utero!!). While I appreciate that the church will theoretically teach my kids at least some Bible stories, I’m jaded and cynical enough to know that my husband and I will need to do the bulk of the work. VeggieTales, JellyTelly, and What’s in the Bible? (plus a little Hermie on the side) are helpful as well. VeggieTales teaches Bible stories and values, WitB? teaches how everything fits together (like discipleship training used to do, way back when). The kids also love my old Psalty tapes and we’re gonna start listening to the “Seeds Family Worship” CDs. My husband is struggling with how to be the spiritual leader in our home because he did not have the strong example that I had (his dad is a wonderful, good man and a believer…just not the kind that has Jesus, etc. as part of daily life and conversation), but so far hubs has done a great job at obeying when God’s told him/us to do something, so I’m not worried about him growing into his role. I pray with our oldest most nights, and many of our books, etc. are Bible stories. I try to make the most of “teachable moments,” but it still feels rather awkward to me. It’s a good thing God gives us children when they’re babies so that we can grow as parents with them! God bless those who adopt/foster older kids!

  23. 1. Grew up in church, but have no idea what happened to the other kids in SS. Our church was pretty small, and I never kept in touch with the kids with whom I attended. I still attend church.

    2. Brought up in a Christian home, and think my parents did an incredible job of teaching and more importantly modeling their faith. I’d have to say that my parents did most of the teaching, because at that point in my life, the teaching at church was pretty lame. I dropped out of my confirmation class, because I didn’t think they were teaching much of anything. There was another period of time when my parents were so irritated at the way the church was teaching that we pretty much quit attending. During that time, my Dad became very active in the church association’s camping committee. We’d haul the camper down to the church camp (about an hour and a half away from home) just before Memorial Day weekend and leave it there until Labor Day weekend. Then, instead of attending church during the summer, we’d go camping every weekend. Dad would be involved in building projects around the campground, and we’d get roped into scrubbing down the pool before opening weekend, hauling rocks out of the creek bed for a fireplace in the lodge, and other crazy projects. I have great memories of sitting around a roaring campfire at night with a big group of campers and singing old church camp songs. I also have memories of spiders. I’d like to forget those memories.

    3. No children, but if I had any, I would have to say that I would be fairly confident in teaching my children about faith. I guess I trust my ability more than I trust my church’s.

  24. Matt,

    You and I are both starting works on new projects. About yours first, I wasn’t raised in the church or attended more than occasionally as a child. As an adult, I worry whether I present it correctly. My church recently taught on helping your kids through salvation, baptism and beginning their Christian life. They used a book called Faith of a Child by Art Murphy. While the book is very helpful, it explains that if you have more than one child, not to expect it to be formulaic. Each child is different is ready to learn at different times.

    My projects are two examinations of different books in God’s Word. They are called Proverbs For The Revival and Psalms For the Revival. I’ll give the links, but you can also visit the main page then click on the link to get there.

    http://proverbsatonemanrevival.blogspot.com
    http://psalmsatonemanrevival.blogspot.com

    I am encouraged to see what your project turns out.

    Frank

  25. 1. Half of about 20 of us, I’d say. Those are the ones I know of for sure; there are a few others that I haven’t heard from since graduation.

    2. My mother was a Christian, my father was not. They pretty much left it up to the church & Christian camps to teach us about Jesus.

    3. I feel confident that my husband & I can teach our kids about faith, Jesus, Christianity, etc. I have no intention of leaving it entirely up to the church, because I believe that is part of parenting, and that God will hold us responsible for our children’s upbringing, not the church. (Of course, what they do with that after they are grown is another story.)

    If you’re going to install a swimming pool shaped like your face, the least you can do is have a yearly “blog readers day” where you invite us all over.

  26. How confident are you in your ability to teach your children about faith? Do you depend on the church to teach your kids about faith, or are you better able to teach your kids about faith?

    In & of myself I’m not confident at all. I’m reminded of 2 Corinthians 12:9, when Paul was talking about God’s grace being sufficient. I’ve heard it said that we’re given the grace we need for the tasks God has for us; I see it that way with parenting. Parenting really is the impossible task. I believe that only by God’s grace can I have the effect I desire.

    When it’s all said & done, the responsibility and privilege to teach my kids about faith is on me. A big part of how they’ve learned is through my life before them (so they’ve learned both positives and negatives). Faith is real in our household; prayer, praise, dependence on God, looking to the Bible for answers – this is the stuff of daily life. When my sons were young I felt the need to teach them what I believe to be the basic tenants of the Christian faith. We’d do that through both formal & informal devotions, discussions where we’d look at the Bible together, object lessons, scripture memorization, etc. I partnered with the local church along the way, especially when my 3 sons were younger. When I lived in one location for 9 years, there was an absolutely awesome children’s ministry at a local church there and we joined in with that church. The woman who was the children’s pastor sincerely loved, and actually still does, my sons (she & I became close friends and we’re still involved in one another’s lives even though I moved from that area 4 yrs ago). As my sons have gotten older (they are currently ages 22, 17 & 16), I’ve seen the youngest and oldest ones come into community in the local church on their own and find meaning and value in that relationship. My middle son, the 17yr old, isn’t into church. He is still of faith, but he tends to see church as boring and irrelevant at this time in His life. At this phase in their lives every so often issues of faith come up with specific life situations. I don’t try to “teach” so much any more as much as engage in meaningful life discussions where the Bible comes in, and I pray for them LOTS.

  27. #1 – I stopped attending church as soon as I left for college. I was burned out by the youth group at the home church; nothing to do with the leaders, but simply the “good” kids. These were the ones held in very high esteem by the church family. Always went to sunday school and youth group, always volunteered with the young kids at VBS, always did right. Except of course when they were out on Friday and Saturday nights getting drunk…underage.
    I got caught up in watching this group receive high praise for what they did on Sunday, knowing that if any of the adults knew what was happening the rest of the time there would be a major scandal. I began to believe that this was what “church” was about – do what you want six days a week and then come in on Sunday, sing some hymns, give some money and go on your way. So I quit – it felt hypocritical and the exact opposite of what worshipping God was supposed to be.
    What I have learned over the years, however, was that while this may have felt true to me at the time, I was simply using this excuse to cover my own disobedience and sin. Even though I grew up in the church, I did not want God to run my life (still have trouble with following His will, but working on it). And so I took this excuse and my time away from home to run.
    It took me 15 years of running and a life-altering crisis to realize that following my own path and relying on my own strength was not working. Now I get it – it’s not about the “good” kids; it’s not about going to church to keep my folks happy; it’s all about praising Him for what he did (and does) for me, even though I don’t deserve it. Thanks be to God for his mercy and grace!

  28. Second question. Home and church were pretty much the same. Dad was the pastor of the church. Both Mom and Dad were diligent in teaching their children. We had “family worship” daily, reading the scripture, discussing passages, and praying together. And whenever there were services, and that was often, we were in church.

  29. If you grew up in church, how many kids in your Sunday school or youth group do you know that stopped practicing their faith after high school or college? If you yourself quit church after high school or college, why?

    I lived in a very small town and went to church with most of the same kids for all of my life. The only time I noticed any spiritual growth in the kids in my youth group was right after church camp every summer. This of course was usually short-lived. I don’t know why, but I will say that my conversion experience “stuck”. I read my bible every day. I was in church every time the doors were opened and when I got to college I got very involved in the Baptist Student Union on my campus. As I have re-connected with people I went to school with I have noticed a very interesting thing; the kids who were NEVER involved in church when we were growing up now seem to be very bold about their faith. People who I would never have guessed would follow Christ are NOW following Christ. Some of the ones who seemed to be”superstars” when we growing up are just normal people now, or not following Christ at all. Hmmm…

    If you lived in a Christian home: how good were your parents at teaching you about faith as a child? Did you parents do most of the work of teaching you about faith, or was it left up to the church to teach you what you needed to know?

    My mother and I lived with my maternal grandmother. Mt mother NEVER darkened the door of a church, but it was my grandmother who took me every Sunday. It wasn’t a question of IF I was going to church. I was going. But she never taught me any bible stories or prayed with me. I learned everything from the church.

    How confident are you in your ability to teach your children about faith? Do you depend on the church to teach your kids about faith, or are you better able to teach your kids about faith?

    I think I will be better prepared than my grandmother to teach my children about faith in God. I want a church that will teach them, but i don’t want to rely on that. I also want them to see Christ through my wife and I, which is a MUCH harder thing than simply telling them stories.

  30. 1. Several of my Youth Group friends are no longer practicing the faith of their youth. Many however, have turned back to Christ in their early adult years since abandoning their faith in college. If I had to put a percentage on it, I’d say that 60% of us are still practicing and 40% are not.

    2. My parents viewed our spiritual formation as primarily their job. They saw the church as a partner in that job. We attended Sunday School, Youth Group, youth camps, and mission trips regularly…but we also had regular conversations about faith at home. They really helped us learn to apply our beliefs to every area of our lives.

    3. My husband and I will not leave our children’s spiritual formation up to the church, either. We are confident in our ability to train them (not without the Holy Spirit, of course!). Like my parents, we view the church as a partner in training our children.

  31. 1. We had a huge youth group at it’s prime. Like 100ish on average per bi-annual retreat. So there is no way I can know who’s still a practicing Catholic or Christian. However, I do know that two of the guys who came out as gay don’t practice anything anymore. I’d say 1/2 of the people I hung out with on a regular basis are still Catholic, and the rest either started going to other churches or don’t attend at all anymore.

    I’m still very involved in whatever church I attend, and remained so through college. However, I no longer go to a Catholic church, because honestly I don’t find the homilies (sermons) engaging and there aren’t any community groups or Bible studies in many Catholic churches.

    2. My parents both taught Sunday school when I was a kid, and my mom taught it for like 20 years, until last year when she retired from being in charge of the middle school program. Church was a big part of our lives growing up. The formal theological education came from Sunday school I guess, but my parents always quizzed us about the readings from mass when we got in the car after church. We also did weekly “family meetings” and discussed Focus on the Family related stuff. My kiddie Bible was also the first thing I remember my parents reading to me as a kid and was the first thing I learned to read. Ironically, my father didn’t own a Bible himself until he was 45 years old, for a reason still unknown to me…

    3. I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to hold my own spiritually with my kids. I intend on educating my children about Catholicism, as it is a passion of mine, even though I will most likely not raise them as Catholics (serious boyfriend/likely father of hypothetical children isn’t Catholic). I also intend on teaching them Bible stories before they can read. I will ensure that my children are well educated in theology and Biblical knowledge as much as is age appropriate while they’re younger, but as they reach their teen years it will probably be something they will chose to pursue or not pursue on their own. I will rely on the church we attend to teach them correct information, but it is NOT a church’s sole responsibility to educate a child. I intend on being the first and hopefully one of the strongest examples of faith my children encounter.

    There you go, Matt. I hope that helps you get your face-shaped pool one day.

  32. 1. If you grew up in church, how many kids in your Sunday school or youth group do you know that stopped practicing their faith after high school or college? If you yourself quit church after high school or college, why?

    I’m not really sure. I know of several families where everyone is still actively practicing their faith. The youth group where I went in 11th and 12th grade, I know at least 4 or 5 are still active in church. I also know that one went to a Christian college, became a missionary, then rejected the Christian faith and is now agnostic. Another went to the same conservative Christian college and is now a minister at a church that is quite liberal, embracing the LGBT community (and it appears that this woman is not heterosexual). Those are the two that stand out to me.

    2. If you lived in a Christian home: how good were your parents at teaching you about faith as a child? Did you parents do most of the work of teaching you about faith, or was it left up to the church to teach you what you needed to know?

    My parents sent me and my brother to a Christian school until I was in 5th grade. Beyond that, I think they expected us to get most of our Christian education from church, despite the fact that my father is very educated in theology and very much enjoys discussing it. We have great discussions now. I know that my parents were serious about their faith and I remember seeing my dad doing lots of Bible study. I don’t remember that about my mom, but I know that she’s a pretty serious believer and that we were always active in church.

    3. How confident are you in your ability to teach your children about faith? Do you depend on the church to teach your kids about faith, or are you better able to teach your kids about faith?

    I’m quite confident in my ability to teach my children about our Christian faith. We homeschool, so Bible is part of their curriculum, and my husband also reads the Bible as part of our night-time reading (along with some other book – and my kids are 15 and 12 and they love it!). I certainly don’t expect that they can learn everything they need from just 2 hours a week.

  33. I was on vacation for a while so I wasn’t able to read your blogs. I have nothing on #1 or #2 because my dad was/is an atheist who strongly discouraged church attendence. Watching sports or old “Flash Gordan” serials was our Sunday ritual. Church attendence was rather sporadic, even after I gave my life to Christ as a result of grandparent’s witness. In college, I started attending church and Intervarsity but quit and turned away because of a guy and a Bible study leader who didn’t handle the 1 Timothy method of bringing up a problem in a good way. Of course, I was starting to become a bit rebellious at that point in time anyway and the guy was encouraging me in my rebellion, which is why she was trying to have a talk with me. Ultimately, my problem was that I focused too much on people telling me how to behave and not enough seeking God’s will for me.

    Question #3: My method of “teaching” my kids about faith is to read the Bible almost every day with them and talk about what we read and to share my faith experiences with them–both my failures and my “achievements”. I also pray for them and with them.

  34. If you grew up in church, how many kids in your Sunday school or youth group do you know that stopped practicing their faith after high school or college? If you yourself quit church after high school or college, why?

    Growing up in an anglican church in the UK there was about 25 got confirmed with me at the end of sunday school. As far as I know I’m the only one still actively involved in church, while one or two others may still come for big occasions with their families.

    If you lived in a Christian home: how good were your parents at teaching you about faith as a child? Did you parents do most of the work of teaching you about faith, or was it left up to the church to teach you what you needed to know?

    My parents took me to church and I went to Sunday School every week, but it wasn’t until I was finished Sunday School at 14 or 15 I really took much interest in the deepness of what the Bible and my religion actually meant. Up until then it had been nice little stories that you went and read every week but took very little from. So most of my teaching about faith was either done in small groups or on my own.

    How confident are you in your ability to teach your children about faith? Do you depend on the church to teach your kids about faith, or are you better able to teach your kids about faith?

    Only being 21 and not planning for kids for a good while longer there’s no one yet to teach about faith. But I do believe if the time comes that I might have kids in the future that a large part of it should be learning for themselves, certainly put them on the right track, but if they don’t want to that’s their own choice. A large amount of people I know who have fell away from church and their faith would say that a lot of the time growing up going to church and sunday school felt like a chore that they were forced into by their parents.

  35. 1. I was the only kid in my church in my school year. So I guess there was a 100% retention rate :)I think that if you broaden that to they year ahead and behind me that it would be close to 100% as well (although they all have moved away to the 4 corners of the globe so it is difficult yo be 100% sure).

    2.I grew up in a Christian home. My parents are both Christians and they taught me a lot about faith etc. Mom and dad were the perfect combination in that together they gave us kids (5 kids all still Christians) an awesome picture of who God is. Dad was the type to discuss scripture with the teachers in the temple, while Mom was turning over tables in the temple courtyard. One calm and the other full of passion. All I can say is that My folks never left it up to anyone else to teach us about faith. But then I can’t really remember any specific lessons I learned as a kid or teenager.

    3. This one scares me a bit. The church I attend is an “Orange” church, in that we use the children’s curriculum from Orange, which puts a lot of emphasis of a parent/church partnership. I’m only starting out on this one so it is still early days. Ultimately I believe it is our responsibility to teach our kids about faith, and that we should allow the church to help.

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