According to a Swiss study done in 1994 cited by S. Michael Craven in the Christian Post*, the results were staggering when comparing the differences in whether or not a father attends church (worship) with his children. In short the study stated, “If a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful the mother’s devotions, only 1 in 50 children will become a regular worshipper. If a father does go regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds to three-quarters of their children will become (regular or irregular) church-goers. If a father goes irregularly to church, regardless of mom’s devotion, between half and two-thirds of their offspring will find themselves coming to church regularly or occasionally.”
Let me please start off by saying that this is in no way meant to diminish a mother’s role in her child’s spiritual upbringing, but to shine light on the importance of the father’s role. Yes, our kids are very impressionable and they will surely model the behavior they see, but I think it goes beyond that. God has specifically given men the task as the spiritual leader of our families and has placed generational implications (good or bad) based on our obedience. Yet, far too many men have fallen asleep at the wheel in this regard and we are now seeing the fallout in the next generation.
But there is hope!
Dad, you may not be able to control the masses, but you still have the ability to set the tone in your own home. So I am issuing you a challenge: put yourself up to the measuring stick and see how well you are leading your children in their faith.
Here are some key questions you could ask yourself:
- Do I attend church on a weekly (or whenever you are able) basis with my children?
- Do my children see me pray and do I pray regularly with them?
- Am I able to draw upon God’s Word and talk about tough scenarios with my son or daughter when needed?
- Am I modeling what a follower of Jesus Christ looks like?
- Do I desire my children to be the same type of Christian I am?
Guys, this is serious stuff and one day we will stand accountable before God and give a report of how we stewarded everything He has blessed us with– including our families. I am telling you all of this to encourage you, not discourage you. If adjustments need to be made, then there is no time like the present. If you are making the grade as your family’s spiritual leader–great, keep it up!
Our kids will grow up and have to face this world one way or another. The question is, “Will you prepare them to overcome the world and to glorify God with their lives?”
…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Joshua 24:15 (NASB)
Dads, are you leading your children in Christ the way God asks?
By Matt Haviland
Dad of one daughter
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of A Father’s Walk
Author of A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resource for Single Fathers,
co-author of The Daddy Gap
*Fathers: Key to Their Children’s Faith, Christian Post, S.Michael Craven, June 19, 2011.