By Dannah Gresh, founder of True Girl
I beg you: read this article. While it may seem unimaginable that your daughter will walk away from her faith or the Church, the statistics paint a horrifying picture. And every parent and grandparent needs to gaze into it, as uncomfortable as it may be.
With the proper understanding of what's happening, you could plant deep roots of faith in your daughter rather than miss important developmental stages for spiritual disciplines. I'm about to share with you the one spiritual habit that could keep your daughter in the Church and thriving in her relationship with Christ for years to come.
Before we talk about her, let me ask you this: have you noticed how many young adults are walking away from the faith? I knew it was coming. (Maybe you did, too.) I'm just so incomprehensibly sad that we're now seeing it unfold. Several years ago, my husband Bob and I were on a task team called The Tween Gospel Alliance. It was largely some round table discussions and strategic prayer sessions involving leaders from high profile ministries. We all shared in common a desire to disciple children, and a concern about the way the Church at large was nourishing children spiritually. George Barna, a Christian researcher, attended a few of our meetings. Based on many polls and long years of watching Christian behavior, he made this chilling statement in one of our gatherings:
What you believe by your 14th birthday is generally what you die believing.” –George Barna
Let that sink in. Consider just how important it is to have strategic conversations and to build spiritual habits into our children before they are thirteen. Don't waste your daughter's tween years. They matter. And the world they're growing up in is not an environment that supports biblical truth. As a result, they and their peers often believe things that are antithetical to the Scriptures. What kind of things? Well, here are some of the stats we explored during our Tween Gospel Alliance gatherings. These reflect the beliefs of tweens about ten years ago.
- 80% believed the Bible, The Book of Mormon, the Koran are the same.
- 68% believed you could earn your salvation.
- 56% believed Jesus may have sinned while he was on earth.
- Only 36% believed the Bible is accurate.
- Only 32% believed Jesus is resurrected.*
My heart sunk as I heard statistic after statistic foretelling the exodus we are now witnessing. One recent study claims 66% of young adults have stopped attending church. While the number of Americans who consider themselves to be Christians declines, atheism is on the rise. That's the bad news. The good news is that there seems to be something that can keep a child from joining the great departure. What is that? Reading their Bibles! A study conducted by LifeWay found that young Bible readers are more likely to grow up to be faithful adults. It was the greatest predictor of whether a child would remain actively involved in Church and passionate about their relationship with Jesus as they matured. Is your daughter reading her Bible regularly? If she is, give yourself a high five. She's in the minority. I conducted focus groups with moms of 7-12 year old church-going girls as I prepared to write Lies Girls Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. When I asked them if their daughters were reading their Bibles, only 30% answered "yes." The majority were not. Will your daughter love Jesus in ten years? Only God knows, but you can do everything you can to ensure that she has the best chance. My team and I have developed a brand new resource to help girls learn the habit of being in God’s Word daily.
Introducing the new True Girl subscription plan.
Consider it your toolbox to teach her to love her Bible! Every month your inbox can be filled with a coaching video on important topics and tools to draw your daughter into the Word. And our ultimate option includes a box delivered right to your door! We selected age-appropriate, Christ-centered themes for each box and fill them with ALL-NEW items that build the habits of spiritual disciplines. Click here to learn more!
*The statistics in this article are from SHIFT, a video produced by the Tween Gospel Alliance featuring George Barna and Francis Chan.