From all sides we hear the same story—Sunday School is in decline. Modern life is too busy, too complicated, too full of competing demands. Sunday School is too old-fashioned for tech-savvy kids. Our kids are exhausted and need to sleep in. Here’s my personal excuse: my kids need to catch up on homework. (Translation: I’m a responsible mother balancing difficult priorities so don’t you dare try to make me feel guilty!) In fact, I think that all of these explanations are true. But . . . I also think that we can’t stop there. . .
For those of you who don’t know me, I am somewhat of a political geek. I like to listen to political commentary from all sides of the spectrum and the other day I heard Ben Shapiro (a controversial young political conservative) say something that I found very telling, whether you agree with his politics or not. In discussing “white privilege,” he made that point that there is definitely something called“decision privilege.” In particular, he noted that children enjoy certain privileges in life depending on the decisions their parents make. So, if parents take their child to a dentist, that child is more likely to have healthy teeth later in life. If parents value education and read to their child, oversee homework, and spend family resources of time and money in support of education, their child will generally have greater opportunities when it comes to college. If parents value athletics and drive their child to practice, look for good coaching and pay for advanced league play, their child will have a better shot at making the varsity team. And so on. Seems pretty obvious to me.
Which leads to a serious question for you and me: Are we thinking about decision privilege when it comes to our children and their relationship to Jesus?
If we agree that parental decisions make success for children more likely in other areas, then surely that same dynamic is at work in Christian life. I want to make decisions now so that my grown children will be more likely to make faith central in their lives, more likely to find a great church family, more likely to take my grandchildren to church, and, above all, more likely to know the peace and comfort found in salvation through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
You can find lots of research these days on what makes for a “Sticky Christian.” I plan to use an upcoming blog to look at some of the theories floating around out there. For today I will share this conclusion from Barna, a respected research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture: “When it comes to church engagement, those who attended Sunday school or other religious programs as children or as teens were much more likely than those without such experiences to attend church and to have an active faith as adults.”
What do you want for your child? I want to set my children up for success in their lives as Christians. If you are reading this, I think you want that for your child too. I can’t tell you how things will turn out for your child or mine, but I can tell you that decision privilege is real. And it’s helping me think a little differently about sleeping in on Sunday morning.
See you Sunday morning,