The Pew Research Center posted an article titled, “U.S. Teens Take After Their Parents Religiously, Attend Services Together and Enjoy Family Rituals.”
The subhead is, “But American adolescents often participate at parents’ behest, and tend to be less religious in more personal, private ways.”
Not so good news.
Pew found that 80% of evangelicals who were surveyed had a teenaged child that shared their religious affiliation, as did 81% of Catholic respondents.
However, just 55% of mainline Protestants said they had a teenaged child who shared their religious affiliation, according to the survey. The poll also showed that 24% of mainline Protestants said they had teenaged children who were religiously unaffiliated, compared to 12% of evangelical respondents and 15% of Catholic respondents.
When there are religious differences between adults and their 13- to 17-year-old children, however, it’s usually the teens who are less religious than the parents. For instance, far fewer teens (24%) than parents (43%) say that religion is very important in their lives.
I wasn’t raised in church. Both of my parents accepted Jesus much later in their lives. I mentioned in Judging People, Judging Leaders that a girlfriend invited me to church. That’s where the Holy Spirit convicted me, and I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior (later in life, too). As Christians, we are called to share our beliefs, just like my girlfriend at the time did.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2
And [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” – Mark 16
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. – 1 Corinthians 1
If you want your children and your friends to know and love Jesus Christ, then you need to talk about Jesus. Talk about God, the Bible, salvation, Jesus Christ, the Ten Commandments, and the moral foundation of society.
Go to church, and take your children, read and discuss a Bible verse weekly. Bring up the Gospel, and the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles in conversations with friends. Don’t preach – share, encourage, inform. Invite your friends to church, too.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking about Jesus and scripture, then start studying your Bible. Pray for courage, conviction, and clarity about the Word. You don’t have to be eloquent. Be honest, and explain why you believe in Jesus Christ as best you can.
God calls us to share His Word. He’ll do the rest.