We recently hosted our all-new Parent Night at the church! And in addition to having dinner together and simply connecting, we discussed what’s happening in the children’s and youth ministries, and had some great topical discussion. During this inaugural gathering, our topical conversation revolved around the impact of the Fruit of the Spirit at home.

So this post is a summary of that discussion…

Why 18-25 Year-Olds Leave Church

Recently, there’s a book that has been a major focus around the Diocese of Central Florida. It’s called, The Great Dechurching: Who’s Leaving, Why Are They Going, and What Will It Take to Bring Them Back? by Jim Davis and Michael Graham.

In this book, the authors share insights from a large study done into why people are leaving the church. While not exclusive to youth and young adults, there certainly is a focus on that age group as one who has been leaving in relatively large numbers.

In their surveys and conversations with young people who have left the church, their reasons tend to point back to the home as a major root cause.

Sadly, the dechurched feel that their parents don’t offer them or others the basic kindness of listening to differing thoughts and opinions. Moreover, many report seeing little evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in their parents’ lives.

So there’s this idea that one of the biggest influences into the future faith of our children is how we engage and interact with them at home!

What’s the Impact of the Fruit of the Spirit At Home?

This statement really hits at two core ideas, both related to the Fruit of the Spirit.

First, it’s about being open to conversations around things they are trying to sort out in their lives. Too often, as parents, we feel like we just know better and are often quick to shut down conversations about things that we have strong feelings about. This closed-off approach to talking with our kids can leave them feeling shut out and not valued.

Remaining open to hearing their ideas and being a resource to them as they try to figure things out is crucial to keeping those doors open. Consider this from a recent post on Instagram…

Building on this conversation piece, ultimately youth feel like they weren’t seeing the Fruit of the Spirit in the lives of their parents. So when we go to church and shout “amen” when the preacher is talking about the virtue of patience, and then we go home and don’t show the same patience with them, then we come off as being hypocritical.

It’s this kind of behavior on our parts that teaches them that there’s really no substance to all of this Christianity thing. So when they go out on their own, of course they don’t take church seriously.

Final Thoughts

I don’t know about you, but this makes me really check myself. Do my kids see in me the kinds of things we try to teach them in church? Am I showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control at home?

As a parent, the children in my home are my single most important ministry. And what their walk looks like as they grow and mature is largely up to me.

And that’s something I hope to help to equip you to do in your home too. That’s why these Parent Night gatherings are going to be an important focus for me (as your Director of Family Ministry, not just children and youth) going forward. I do a lot to pour into all of our kids. But I pray that I’m able to help you sort through your part in the home too.

If you have any questions and/or need help with anything related to this, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me anytime!