Thursday, July 2, 2009

Whatever Happened to Sunday School?

Sunday School.

It was a non-negotiable when I was growing up. And as we raised our children.

I've had a number of conversations with grieving parents who are grappling with what went wrong along the way. They did all the right things. They faithfully brought their kids to church. To Sunday School. Youth Group. Christian camp. Christian school. They "lived for Christ" at home the best they could. They did all the right things.

And then their kids opted out. Checked out of the faith. Wandered off. And kicked off lots of coulda/woulda/shoulda soul-searching and deep grief and despair to their very perplexed parents.

Click here to check out some very surprising stats ...

The good news is that many of these young adults continue to wrestle with God. They are trying to figure out what their faith looks like. And doesn't look like. And that's a good thing. Because "they don't have to be like me to be like Him." It has to be their relationship with Christ. Not their parents'.

And for this rite of passage to do its work, parents need to do one of the hardest things they've ever done. Finally release their children. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. To stand on their own feet. To make their own way.

And the seeds that have been planted have not been in vain. They continue to be watered by fervent, tear-filled prayers as these wise parents finally let their children go and watch them continue their rocky journey into the world of adulthood.

And this is prime opportunity for their own faith to be stretched and deepened, as well ... if they, themselves, do the often difficult work of simply sitting with God. Allowing the Holy Spirit to lead them into some deep soul-searching. Absorbing and applying the timeless truths of Scripture. Discovering new treasures of faith in the darkness of "the waiting room."

And then surprisingly, or maybe not, the sun begins to shine. Slowly, tentatively. Faith is often resurrected when these young adults become parents ... and they begin to see the wisdom and value and validity of the "faith of their fathers." And begin to embrace it for themselves and for their newly formed families.

And they begin to bring their children to Sunday School ...

Encouraging the wrestling ~ Linda


  1. Excellent comments, Linda,and encouragement for any parent (myself included!!) who has done their very best to raise their kids in the fear and admonition of the Lord and then has watched as they chose to slip away.

    But, our God is faithful to complete the work He has begun in them (and their parents).

    Being still -- in the "waiting room" -- is a hard thing sometimes, whatever we may be waiting for. But as we choose to surrender our own hearts to the One who loves us best of all we grow stronger, with more clarity and a deeper ability to love others as Christ does. This in turn has a profound impact upon our children and those who watch us, the results of which we may never know this side of Heaven.

    Blessings to you! Keep those words flowing.

    In & forever,

  2. You make an important point, Sheila - there will be "results of which we may never know this side of Heaven."

    May that truth encourage our hearts as we wait on Him ...

  3. This is a perplexing question? My 2 sons don't seem to have an interest in personally relating to God and living/walking with him daily. They still seem to have the values of their Christian faith but are slowly being enticed by the world view they are "marinated" in daily. There is little exposure to the truth now in their lives and since they are adults, that is their choice.
    As children, it was my job to expose them to truth and I did see them respond regularly to that truth but now they can make their own choices and God's truth is not something they expose themselves to. Their comments seem to imply that church is boring and does not challenge them.

    So what I see is that the world has a strong pull on their thinking and they seem caught up in the culture of this world we live in and this culture appeals to our human nature and IT IS VERY STRONG and is so in our face daily.

    I wish I knew what would strengthen their faith?????

  4. You make some really good observations, and the description of our children being "marinated" in the world view is a powerful picture.

    A powerful picture is what it sounds like you model, as well. I can imagine that your children continue to watch you ... and that your life is a testimony to Christ ... and that God isn't done yet.

    May you find such an incredible peace and strength in Christ that it can't help but radiate to those that you love.


  5. Since this subject is a heartfelt one, I am still pondering it. An added comment and observation is that the church did not really challenge or teach us much as my kids and I attended while they were growing up. It covered the basics well but not much after that. The para-church was our source of faith building and challenged our faith regularly. It seemed to have excellent teaching and counseling and resources to help with a wide range of issues. The local church was an excellent source of fellowship and community but not a lot of "meat" was offered to accomplish what God told Isaiah..."come let us reason together......"

    All of us need to sharpen iron against iron and I think our young people today need that maybe more.


  6. Continue to ponder, to wrestle, to search, to evaluate. I believe God loves it when we are totally transparent with Him and tell Him, "this is what is true about me right now."

    May you find Him to meet you deeply, stretching your faith to new levels during this time of contemplation.



Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...


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