Lately, we have been discussing the research done by the LifeWay Research Team that led to a list of ten predictors of spiritual health in kids. So far we have looked at Predictors 1-6.
1. Child regularly read the Bible while growing up.
2. Child regularly spent time in prayer while growing up.
3. Child regularly served in the church while growing up.
4. Child listened primarily to Christian music.
5. Child participated in church mission trips and projects.
6. Child’s best friend was an influence to follow Christ while growing up.
So far, everything on the list is something you, as parents, can readily influence by simple things you do. However, Predictor #7 is a bit more perplexing, as it is beyond your control.
Predictor # 7: Child is a female.
Is that true? Do more girls stay faithful to the church than boys? Are your boys going to lose their faith? Well, if you look at statistics, it looks likely. Some studies show that, on any given Sunday, a full 61% of the people in the pews of American churches are women. That means that, throughout the USA, there are literally millions more women than men in attendance at churches.
Of course, that leads to the question, “Why would it be that girls are more likely to maintain a strong faith in Christ than boys?” And the follow up question that boy moms and dads are asking, “What can we do about it?”
The answer to both questions is, “No one really knows for sure.” There are a number of theories, however. So, let’s look at some of the possibilities.
One theory is that Christianity’s emphasis on humility and reliance on Christ for strength might mistakenly cause young men to equate Christianity with weakness. Boys want to grow up to be strong and powerful They want to live bold lives that are filled with action, adventure and danger.
Charles Spurgeon, the highly regarded and oft-quoted 19th- century English Particular Baptist preacher once said, “There has got abroad a notion, somehow, that if you become a Christian you must sink your manliness and turn milksop.” He went on to discuss how this is an absurd notion and that being a Christian requires a great deal of courage, strength and boldness.
So, this is clearly not a new idea – but one that still needs to be addressed with each generation of boys who are approaching manhood and wondering where their Christian faith fits in with manliness The Bible is filled with passages about strength, courage, action and adventure. Make sure your boys know these Bible stories and learn these Bible truths while they’re growing up. Read and discuss scripture with your boys that talk about the strength that is required of Christians. For starters, take a look with them at Ephesians 6:10-18, Joshua 1:9 and 1 Peter 5: 8-9. Clearly, being a Christian is not for sissies! Make sure your boys understand that while they’re growing up.
Another theory is that many churches create a feminine atmosphere with their decor. Frilly curtains, sentimental music, pastoral paintings and pretty flowers can make men feel disconnected with the church atmosphere. In response to that, you might notice that modern church design and decor is trending more toward a robust and less feminine look. If your sons or grandsons attend a boy’s only Life Group class like our 6th grade boys class, talk with the teachers about ways you can help make the classroom decor more appealing to boys. Maybe you can provide posters and other wall decor that appeals to the masculine eye so that your boys will feel more at home in their classrooms
And yet another theory is that since there are so many more women who attend church, boys lack sufficient male role models for masculine church involvement. They may look around and decide that, when they grow up, they will go fishing or hunting or concentrate on other manly pursuits on Sunday mornings while their wives and kids go to church.
So, Dads and Grandpas – this one is for you. Help your boys grow strong in their faith by providing that role model for them. Attend worship service. Get involved in a LIfe Group Class. Volunteer to serve the church. All of those things are sending powerful messages to your sons and grandsons about the way a strong, powerful Christian man lives his life.
I delight when men volunteer to serve in the Preschool during worship service and when they offer to lead kids’ Life Group classes. These men are providing such a wonderful role model for little boys by showing them that a man can be a faithful servant of the Lord.
We were blessed with a male Bible Story Leader for the Kindergarten classes during VBS. One of the classroom teachers made a point of coming to me at the end of VBS to tell me how much the boys in her class looked forward to Mr. John’s Bible story time and how much they learned from him. She was delighted and amazed at how powerful his presence was in her classroom.
Boy Moms, let me know your thoughts and how your family is helping your sons stay connected with their faith. I look forward to discussing this further with you!