By Aaron Earls
Virtually every Christian parent says they want their teenager to develop a lifelong faith, but relatively few are actually talking to their students about important spiritual issues.
Barna found 97 percent of engaged Christian parents say it’s important to them that their teen develops a faith that lasts into their adulthood. And 92 percent say the same about their teen being equipped to explain the Christian faith.
Christians, both parents and teens, are considered engaged if they have attended church within the past six months and strongly agree with four specific statements about their faith.
A similar number of parents (93 percent) say it’s important their teen engages in service or has a consistent quiet time (87 percent).
And they acknowledge the responsibility for developing their teenager’s faith is primarily their own.
Three in five (59 percent) say that as the parent, they have the primary responsibility. Another 36 percent say it’s mostly them with the help of church leaders.
Engaged Christian parents mostly do this through attending church together. Almost 9 in 10 (89 percent) point to this as a way they help form the faith of their teenager.
Fewer say they pray together (59 percent), read or discuss the Bible together (45 percent), or volunteer or serve in a ministry together (44 percent).
Teens Are Looking to Talk
Far from avoiding deep conversations with their parents, 79 percent of engaged Christian teenagers feel they can share their honest questions, struggles, and doubts with their parents.
Yet relatively few engaged Christian parents say they’ve talked with their students about significant issues.
A majority have discussed Christian perspectives on current events (60 percent) and biblical perspective on sexuality and marriage (52 percent).
Fewer have talked to their teenager about healthy consumption of pop culture or media (41 percent), historical evidences of Jesus (40 percent), biblical perspectives on gender issues (40 percent), Christian perspectives on poverty or social justice issues (37 percent), and the relationship between science and the Bible (36 percent).
Not many engaged Christian parents at all have discussed origins of the Bible (29 percent), how teens can integrate their faith into their career (24 percent), or how to discern God’s will in their college choice (16 percent).
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.