Covenant Christian Academy Blog

Never miss an update! Subscribe to our blog.

Building a Lasting Faith in Your Child

Posted by Joy Hale on Oct 5, 2020 10:00:00 AM

developing a lasting faith in children

If you have ever visited a NICU (newborn intensive care unit), you know watching a tiny little human in an incubator is heart-wrenching. The magnitude of the machines and tubes entangling the baby is absolutely unsettling.  Yet despite how unnerving the atmosphere of a NICU can be when a premature baby reaches out to grasp hold of your finger, it is life-affirming and heartwarming. In the NICU, babies get round-the-clock care from a team of experts. Nurses, doctors, and parents remain watchful to ensure the baby is breathing, eating, and growing. The parents and the medical team spend days, weeks, and sometimes even months entirely focused on preserving the baby’s life. Hopefully, at the end of the NICU roller coaster, the careful care of the baby will result in parents being sent home with a healthy baby.  

What would happen if parents remained as attentive over children’s spiritual development as the medical team and parents in the NICU? According to the Fuller Youth Institute, nearly half of young people raised in the church will fail to stick with their faith after high school. Would this be true if parents were more vigilant about preserving the faith of their children? There are dynamics impacting whether a child is more likely to continue in their faith after high school.

nurture lasting faith in  your children

In the book, Sticky Faith, Dr. Kara E. Powell and Dr. Chap Clark identify research-driven strategies to launch children on a lifelong faith journey. They describe students who continue in their faith after high school into college as having a Sticky Faith. They defined this Sticky Faith as both being part of a young adult’s inner thought life and as impacting external life choices like church attendance or decisions to participate in risky behavior. The authors recognize there is no silver bullet to guarantee children will continue to live a life of faith, but there are factors that make it more likely to happen. Two significant recurring themes emerge throughout the book:

  1. Parents Matter- The most significant factor shaping the longevity of a child’s spiritual development is the faith life modeled to them by their parents. How parents express and live their faith is the most effective Sticky Faith influence. “When it comes to faith- parents get what they are.” Superficial parenting with platitudes and from a place of legalism is not effective. Successful Sticky Faith parents taught their children that obedience flows from trusting God.  They also taught their children to trust God with their struggles and gave them permission to doubt and ask hard questions. Fundamentally, Sticky Faith parents aren’t focused on changing their child, but in growing themselves into a transformative relationship with the Lord.
  2. Community Matters- Another significant factor impacting children’s spiritual development is involvement in an inter-generational community of relationships. Dr. Kara Powell believes youth “segregation is causing kids to shelve their faith." Participation in multi-generational church worship fosters a mature faith development. The book recommends intentional mentoring relationships and service opportunities as a springboard for diverse relationships.

sticky faith parenting

In 2 Timothy 1:14, Paul instructs Timothy to guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you.

The good deposit is the truth, goodness, and beauty of the gospel given to us by all those who came before us. The grandmother who took us to church to learn about Jesus. The parent who loved us and offered grace no matter how many times we messed up. The teacher who gave us space to ask the hard and uncomfortable questions without giving platitudes in return. The youth minister who faithfully showed up at the baseball game and spoke truth into our lives week after week. The friend who prayed for us passionately and persistently. The good deposit is the investment into our lives by other believers.

According to the Sticky Faith research, parents can guard the good deposit in their children by practicing an authentic, grace-filled faith and by designing family life to include connections with all ages of believers.

Allow the healing words you’ve heard from me to live in you and make them a model for life as your faith and love for the Anointed One grows even more.  Guard well this incomparable treasure by the Spirit of Holiness living within you. 2 Timothy 1:13-14 (The Passion Translation)

New call-to-action


Topics: Parenting, Faith