Why are so many ‘Christian’ young people walking away from the faith? What are parents and churches doing wrong that produces undeveloped followers of Christ? In this video, David Platt instructs parents on how to give their children what they need most – a Christ-centered upbringing. Christian parents are instructed to make the Word of God the first and foremost priority in their homes and children’s lives. This begins with regularly reading God’s Word with their children and aiding them in building Christ-like character that will not falter under worldly temptation. Similarly, Christian parents should avoid excessive worldly immersion, which teaches their children skewed, misplaced priorities. Christian parents should aim to raise devoted followers of Christ who make Scripture their priority, have godly character, and are not controlled by the desires and pleasures of the world.
- Building Christ-like Character
- Filled with God’s Word
- Prioritize the Word
- Avoid Worldly Immersion
Watch Full Message of 12 Traits of a Biblical Church: Preaching and Teaching
The overwhelming majority of supposedly Christian churched college students… When they go off to college, they fall away from their faith. The majority! I’m not content with that. I don’t want the majority of my kids to fall away when they go to college. I don’t want the majority of your kids to fall away when they go to college.
Why is that the case? I don’t want to oversimplify this by any means. But I do wonder if part of it is because, in the church, we have a tendency to tell our children/our students, “Do this. Do this. Do this.” We focus on that outer circle, conduct all the time, but we’re not as parents or as the church giving them what they most need, like a deep and thorough knowledge of God through His Word, which feeds the character of Christ in them, so they know how to think Christianly. They feel what Christ feels. They want what Christ wants.
What Your Children Need Most is to be Built on His Word
Without that kind of foundation, then the first time they encounter an atheistic professor in a college classroom or the freedom and pleasures of this world on a college campus, they fall right in and expose what ultimately is a hollow Christianity that lacks the character of Christ built on His Word.
What about high school students now, not just in the future? They’re battling with impurity. All over this church, I see high school students. They’re battling with impurity in a day with so many temptations around them. What’s best to give them? A bunch of talks just saying, “Do this, do this, do this”? Sure. In one sense, we need to talk about conduct. But what they need most is to be filled with this God-inspired Word. They have the character of Christ formed in them, developing in them as they grow in love for Christ, to begin to think like Christ, to begin to desire what He desires.
What Your Children Need Most is to be Led by the Spirit
They want to follow the leading of His Spirit in their lives. Isn’t that what we want most for our kids? Only the Word can do that. Only the Word! On a side note, here, when Paul says, and you look, 2 Timothy 3:15… He says, “From childhood you’ve been acquainted with the sacred writings.” He’s referring, right there, to Timothy’s mother and grandmother, who we referenced in chapter one, who taught him the Word.
I want to exhort you, mom, dad, teach your children the Word. This is your primary responsibility as a parent. Ephesians 6. This is the text. Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. This is your primary responsibility, not the primary responsibility of the children’s minister or youth minister. Your children need to be fed the Word by you. Don’t miss the danger here. Don’t miss this.
As parents, we tell our kids, “Get good grades. Practice at sports. Learn this instrument. Spend these hours in front of a screen.” We prioritize taking them all over the place for sports and lessons and gymnastics and everything else. We tell them they need an education. They need to be athletic. They need titles. They need to be successful. They need to go off to college and get a good degree, so they can get a good job, make a good living. We’re teaching them to do all these things, immersing them in all these things. But along the way, we’re missing what they need most. We need to teach them to know God and to love God and deserve God and to spread the gospel.
A Parent’s True Responsibility
We say, “Well, I’ll just drop them off at the youth building. The children’s rooms for them to learn that.” No. Yes, we, as the church, want to help. But this is your God-given responsibility. It can’t be accomplished if we are immersing our children in the things of this world. If we are dads who would rather teach our sons how to swing a club or a bat than teach them how to study the Bible, we have missed the whole point.
If we are moms who would rather teach daughters how to dress and put on makeup than teach them how to have the character of Christ, we’re missing the whole point. The reality is, if we’re not careful, one day, our sons and daughters are going to stand before God, and all the things we’ve told them that are most important are going to burn up in the fire. They’ll be left with empty hands, and it will be because of us.