As a child, one of my favorite stories in the Bible was Mephibosheth. There was something fascinating to me about the idea of David honoring a promise to his friend Jonathan. In a time when David would have been considered justified to have killed Mephibosheth as a member of his “opposition”, he basically made Mephibosheth a member of his family. Oh, there were a few hiccups later, but they had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Mephibosheth had special needs.
We all know the “age of accountability” for baptism (and thereby becoming a Christian) probably varies slightly from child to child. For years I have watched as the first children in a class study with their parents, decide they want to be baptized and dedicate their lives to Christ. The parents of the other children in their grade start looking forward to the day when their child decides to become a Christian, too.
Many of those children will probably become Christians at some point over the next few years. As the remaining children enter high school, the looks of anticipation can gradually turn to panic. Parents wonder if their child will reject God entirely. Many are afraid to talk about baptism or ask questions for fear of frightening a child who must be on the borderline of rejecting God. After all, what parent wants to ask the question or make the comment that is the final straw in their child’s faith life?
Surprisingly, there are 5 very common misconceptions young people have about becoming a Christian. Accepting one of these as truth can delay a decision and commitment to God for months and even years. Yet many of them could be easily corrected and encourage your child to make the most important decision of his/her life.
So what are the most common reasons young people might delay baptism?
Perhaps, the scariest thing to me about parenting is the fear of my daughter rejecting God. Many of my parenting decisions were made because I wanted to be able to honestly say I did everything I knew how to do to help her be strong spiritually. And yet there are no guarantees your child will be a faithful, productive Christian as an adult. Or are there?
The new book Abandoned Faith by Alex McFarland and Jason Jimenez examines why many young people are abandoning their faith and what parents can do about it. I won’t lie. This is one scary book. If your children are still at home, it will scare the pants off of you – and it should. As someone who works with kids and teens on a regular basis, I can tell you very few parents are doing what they need to do to prepare their children to live an active, productive Christian faith as an adult.
Most of you will lose your kids – watch them reject God and His teachings – because you aren’t doing what you could do now to greatly lessen the chances it will happen. This book does a great job at pointing out the main mistakes parents make when helping their kids develop a strong spiritual life.
You may not know this, but Parenting Like Hannah and its parent ministry Teach One Reach One actually began with the writing of a study for parents and Bible class teachers to do with young people who were expressing an interest in being baptized and becoming a Christian. I wrote it, because at the time my own daughter was interested in becoming a Christian and I couldn’t find anything I liked. As we studied together, I crafted the study from what we discussed and the questions she and some of her friends had on the topic.
Over the years, it has become one of our most popular free resources. As our ministry has evolved, we have been blessed with a volunteer who has far more talent than I in the area of graphic design. Bobby McVey, has taken our original resource and made it look professional. You and your friends and family can read our free baptism study in iBooks, from the website or print it.
We would love for you to share it with your ministers, fellow parents, relatives, friends and anyone else who may want to study baptism with a young person. Several have told us, it would also work as a guideline for studying baptism with an adult.
As always, our resources are free and you are welcome to share them. We only ask that you do not claim the material as your own or charge anyone for it. We have free resources, because we believe the information is too vital to restrict access anymore than absolutely necessary. Blessings as you share this study with those you love!
It happens to us all. We think we are doing something routine like grocery shopping. On a good day I can get in and out of the grocery store in a few minutes. It never fails though. If my day is packed with so much I have little wiggle room, I will run into everyone I haven’t seen for years in the store. And they want to talk. A lot. About everything that has happened in the five years since I last saw them.
Now while I am normally a friendly talker, when my thirty minute grocery store run takes twice as long on a day when I have no free time, I get stressed. Something has to be dropped or shortened in order to complete the day. What gets cut?
For many of us, the first thing that goes is our quiet time, our prayer time or our Bible reading for the day. If you have kids and have tried to do family devos, you probably know exactly what I mean. You can generally make it for a few days and then life goes crazy and the devos get dropped.
Strangely, science has studied this phenomenon (okay not the devo part). They found just about everyone has accepted a planning fallacy – that they can accurately predict how long it will take to complete a certain task. What they found is basically everyone underestimates how long a task will take – often by quite a large margin.
Since God is often what gets pushed off of our plates when we run short on time, how can we compensate for the planning fallacy and put Him back in our lives and the lives of our children?