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Dare to preach Jesus to your children – The day

To pass on the faith received as a gift has always been central to the Christian faith. The mission command, to go out into the whole world and preach the gospel, applies then as now. Still, the Church has lost the courage to tell about Jesus.

Today’s society, so influenced by secularism, has in turn also shaped Christianity. Faith has been pushed back from the public to the private, from common traditions to individual beliefs. We in the Church must see to it that the eleventh commandment, formulated not by God but by the surrounding society, does not become what we primarily live by: “You shall not serve a mission.”

Christian homes have also been affected by secularization. Too often, the “Christian upbringing” —to share the faith, teach Bible stories, and pray together — is left entirely to the Church. The children and youth pastors are left with the responsibility of taking that with Jesus, baptism of the Spirit and prayer with the children. But we must not forget that in the “whole world” the home and one’s own family are included to a very high degree.

We in the Church must see to it that the eleventh commandment, formulated not by God but by the surrounding society, does not become what we primarily live by: “You shall not serve a mission.”

Frida Park

But sometimes swears believing parents for “accustom the young man to the way he should walk”. The reasons are legion. Not a few of today’s free church parents come from growing up in sometimes strict religious homes where the church was obligatory, whether the child wanted to or not, and where cinema, concerts and parties were forbidden, certainly with the intention of protecting from “the evil of the world”.

These experiences, and expensive lessons about how people have been hurt by an overly zealous church discipline – as Roland Nelsson, among others, told in Dagen (6/11), have led to a strong reluctance to “hit the Bible in the head” on their own children .

Even when we have nothing rather than wanting to give our children a healthy relationship to the Christian faith, the recent church history, the experienced and the heard, can inhibit us parents. Add to that the fact that in just a couple of generations society has undergone an incredible metamorphosis, almost a revolution, in the view of upbringing, children’s rights and the individual’s self-determination.

Painting on the roadway, adult holding a child in his hand.

And although this is basically something positive, society has not handled the shift solely successfully. A telling school example is how an excessive focus on students’ co-determination impairs teaching, and children do not always want to do what is best for them. If children are to leave school with good knowledge, the teacher must take responsibility for the teaching.

It has been shown be a surprisingly short distance, not least this year, between the rigid ditch and the overly yielding ditch. Like teachers, parents must dare to take responsibility. The responsibility to share the faith with their children, through good habits, at home. This is not very easy to talk about because it contains a lot of sadness and shame. When the teenager suddenly does not want to go to church, or does not even want to have anything to do with the faith – then it is sometimes easy for powerlessness to threaten to take over.

Yet it is a matter of destiny, in more ways than one, that we can not keep quiet about, that children and young people who grow up in homes where the Christian faith is central should also choose the faith and a parish commitment in adulthood.

This is not very easy to talk about because it contains a lot of sadness and shame.

Frida Park

except that As little as hearing about the faith at home and one’s own warm experience of a healthy church, diversity can play a major role in children’s and young people’s relationship to the Christian faith. The body of Christ contains many church families, traditions and cultures. Sometimes it is easy for us as parents to be so influenced by what we ourselves enjoy best about the form of worship and liturgy that we can miss if our child does not appreciate this as well as we do.

It can be quite wise to let the children get acquainted with several parts of the immense wealth that Christianity holds. If for various reasons the son or daughter has not enjoyed the context in which he or she grew up, the person in question may opt out of the Christian faith. But what if an encounter with other ways of singing praises and celebrating worship could have opened the eyes and door to a deep faith that carried into adulthood and beyond anyway? Then perhaps the name on the church door matters less?

Today’s believers parents need is greater self-confidence. It is not harmful to go to church, pray together at home, learn about the Bible and be part of a healthy community – on the contrary. In addition to the opportunity to find a faith, it also gives children treasures for life: context, traditions, culture – something even those who do not believe can greatly appreciate. Even in one of the world’s most secular countries, children actually have a convention-protected right to spirituality. “Let all the children come to me, do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to them,” Jesus said. These words contain both a call and a promise.


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