As we continue to explore the topic of students exiting the church, today we will look at our first possible reason for this exit: Students never embraced the Gospel and relied on the faith of their parents instead of having their own personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Parents can influence and encourage the faith of their children, but their children must come to a place where they embrace faith on their own. As children grow up, many times they take on the interests and preferences of their parents. Most families are united in their choice of college football teams, favorite vacation spots, and favorite meals. This family unity is a good thing, but it is easy for faith just to become another family activity. We go out to eat, to the ball field, and to church. In student ministry, I try to constantly remind our students that they cannot live merely off of their parent’s faith – they must embrace Christ on their own. This is the truth that parents must also teach to their children.
The amazing part of the message of the Gospel is that it is intensely personal. Jesus didn’t just die for the sins of the world – Jesus died for my sins. Jesus didn’t just bring victory and freedom to the cosmos – Jesus came to bring freedom and victory to my life. Before faith is a corporate experience, it is a personal relationship. We must constantly keep the personal aspect of having a relationship with Jesus front and center in our conversations about faith.
As children come to know and experience a personal faith through having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, they will begin to see the importance of the church as the community of faith. This is a community that comes alongside each other to remind each other of the Gospel and the Jesus who overcame, to wrestle with the scriptures to know the Author of the Bible better, and to unite together to reach the nations with the Gospel that is the only truth that can change the world.
To get started in teaching your children about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I would recommend:
This short and practical Ebook will help Parents understand the basics of how to talk to their kids about salvation.
Jason Underhill, a children’s ministry veteran, wrote this resource to encourage parents to be the ones to lead their child to Christ.
Minister of Students
Ben Birdsong was called as our Student Minister in September 2013 after serving with students for four and a half years at First Baptist Church of Pelham. Ben is married to Liz. He loves Starbucks, reading, movies, music, and spending time with family and friends. Ben has a great desire to see students grow in their faith in Christ and to see God use them to make an impact for Him on their campuses and in their communities. Ben was ordained and licensed into the ministry from the Church at Brook Hills in July 2009. He holds bachelor’s degrees in marketing and human resource management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a master’s degree in divinity from Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School. Ben is currently a Doctor of Ministry student with a focus in Ministry to Emerging Generations at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary just outside of Boston, Massachusetts.