Did you know God expects more from Christians than just sitting on a pew once a week? More than just to avoid sinning? There is a productive side to Christianity. God expects His people to serve those around them and share their faith, so others will become Christians. The Bible tells us there are definitely lukewarm Christians. Now I don’t have any idea who those lukewarm Christians are in Revelation 3:15-16 that God will spit or vomit out, but I don’t want my kids to be in that group.
Our works don’t save us, but are an outpouring of our gratitude and obedience to God. I want to raise kids who are serving others and sharing their faith. Kids who are obedient to God’s commands. Kids who attend worship because they want to, not because it’s a habit, family expectation or spiritual insurance policy. A group that does Christian research found that children raised in Christian homes fall into three basic groups as adults. The first are those who may or may not still claim to believe in God or be a Christian, but make few, if any, attempts to actually live a Christian life.
The second group is tricky. They call themselves Christian and may even attend worship services and Bible classes regularly. Their life, however, does not reflect obedience to God on a large scale, including obeying God’s commands, serving others or sharing their faith. Their faith or at least their lifestyle reflects a shallow Christianity. The research didn’t follow these young adults for years, but I would imagine they are more susceptible to having their faith continue to weaken over the years.
The third group of young adults lived their faith. They weren’t perfect, of course, but they consistently made godly choices. They served others regularly and shared their faith. They were active and productive Christians.
It’s important to remember that all three groups of young adults were raised in Christian homes. So what made the difference? Was there consistency within certain homes…raising kids that mainly ended up in the same faith category? The research found there was a great bit of consistency and that there were marked differences in the ways the three groups were raised.
As one would imagine, the group of young adults who did not remain faithful grew up in homes where not a lot of spiritual things happened. They may have prayed at meals and attended church, but there weren’t family devotionals, spiritual conversations and family efforts to serve others and share their faith. The spiritual instruction and coaching that is essential just didn’t happen often or consistently enough to impact the children who were raised in those homes.
The surprising part is the difference between the last two groups. They pretty much did the same things. They prayed and studied the Bible together and independently. They had a lot of discussions about how God wants us to live our lives and other spiritual topics. They corrected their kids and helped mold their hearts to obey God. They attended worship, served others and shared their faith.
So why did some kids become church attenders and others become productive Christians? One factor seemed to make the difference. Hospitality. Yes, you read that correctly. Families who invited friends, family and strangers into their home on a regular basis were much more likely to raise productive Christians than those who didn’t. It didn’t seem to matter who was entertained or what kind of food (if any) was served. Just regularly having other people in the home changed everything.
Hospitality is a dying art in our world. Being hospitable will make you stand out in a positive way. It will expose your kids in more meaningful ways to other Christians. It can model for them how to serve others and share their faith. It can encourage those you entertain. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Your home doesn’t have to be perfect. Just open your door and invite people into your home.
The ironic thing is that the Bible focuses on hospitality quite a bit – especially in the New Testament. It’s even a requirement for those who wish to become elders in the Church. In fact, it’s commanded of all Christians (Hebrews 13:2, 1 Peter 4:9 and others). Yet, it’s rarely mentioned or practiced today and our kids are missing an essential element of spiritual growth because of it. So grab your phone and have someone over for ice cream. It might just make a huge difference in your kids’ spiritual lives.