As someone who grew up in the church, it can be fun to look back on all the little ways Christianity influenced my childhood. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone, either. Ask any “Church Kid” about their time in Awana, or the summer they spent at Bible Camp, and you’re likely to walk away with a number of really funny (or really embarrassing) stories. Because despite our best efforts to “be in the world but not of the world”, youth groups and Sunday schools have always been something of a Christian sub-culture. In fact, the blog Chasing Supermom recently posted an article highlighting all the wonderfully cheesy things that encompassed the life of every adolescent believer.
You might even recognize things like,
“3. You had a WWJD bracelet…or two…or ten.”
“15. You can tell someone about your faith using jellybeans, ‘the wordless book’, or beaded bracelets.”
“17. One word – Flannelgraph!”
“19. You proudly went to ‘See you at the pole’.”
Many Christians can look at this list and laugh. We remember what it was like, being so young and apart of this thriving movement within the church. Now we’re adults, and as I read over this list one last time, it strikes me that a new generation of young Christians is already taking shape. It’s a generation my peers and I will be in charge of shepherding toward Christ, and to be honest, I don’t think it will be easy. The world has changed a lot since I was young.
Many people are weighed down by a sense of entitlement, which they are now passing on to their children. Others argue that an inflated sense of self-esteem is keeping todays adults from recognizing their place in life. For Crosswalk writer Lori Hatcher, the key to overcoming these obstacles was to put aside the culture-of-the-day and build her family on Biblical principles. Hatcher writes,
“When I came to know Christ as my Savior the summer before my freshman year in college, one of the first evidences of spiritual life was my desire to read God’s Word. It was natural then, after my husband and I married and began a family, to want to implement the truths and principles of scripture into our parenting. We envied friends who had strong, godly parents as role models. While we both had a fairly good idea of how we didn’t want to parent, we lacked the knowledge of how to parent.”
“James 1:5 quickly became our parenting verse: ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.’”
Young or old, there’s no doubt we all have a lot of work ahead of us in the coming years. In spite of that, we take hope in the love Jesus has shown to us, and the place he holds in all of our lives. Who knows, maybe in another 20 years our children can look back on their experiences in the church, and like us, smile as all the memories come flooding back?
*Ryan Duncan is the Culture Editor for Crosswalk.com