I heard a sobering statistic the other day. In a year-long leadership training our pastor has been taking our church through, we learned that the majority of Christians spend the first 5-7 years since after their salvation growing in the Lord, and then plateau.
And anecdotally, from my experience as a pastor’s wife, I can attest that this feels true for many Christians sitting in an average congregation. We ran into it all the time, both as youth pastors, and then as lead pastors. Unfortunately, many adults don’t really want to go any deeper in their faith than they already have.
I’m terrified by what this means.
I’m afraid for the church: How can we expect to reach a lost and dying world if we don’t truly want any more of Jesus than we already have?
I’m afraid for myself: I’ve already been following Jesus for over 25 years. Could it be that I’ve spent 15-20 of those years stagnating in my faith? That I’ll never be more mature in the Lord than I am today? God forbid.
Most of all, though, I am afraid for what this means for my children. We led them in praying to surrender their lives to the Lord more than two summers ago. I want more than 3 to 5 more years of growth for them. I’m thrilled with what they know about the Bible for their ages, but there is so much more for them to learn. More than I could teach before they’re 10 or 12.
Frankly, there’s more than I can teach them before they’re 18. Or 25.
And I don’t hope to cram it all in before then. I fervently hope and pray that Jason and I will always exhibit more spiritual maturity than our children, and that they can come to us for wisdom in their 30s or 40s or 50s. And that by the time we precede them into the presence of Jesus, we will have whet their appetites for growing in in the Lord to the point that they long to know Him more intimately every day.
Honestly, when I get right down to it, that’s the only thing I really want for my kids. For them to know Jesus more and more every single day of their lives.
But for me to be able to lead them in that, it must be true of me, too. So, moms and dads – what are you doing to grow in your faith right now? Here are a few questions to ask yourself, as you consider how to spur on your own faith, as you seek to lead your kids:
- In what ways are you serving in your community and your local church?
- Are you looking for ways to give even more of your income to the kingdom of God?
- What are you reading in the Bible or alongside it to deepen your knowledge of God?
- How much time are you spending in prayer each week? Each day?
- What was the last Bible verse you memorized? What verse or passage will you memorize next?
- How can you cultivate a greater atmosphere of worship throughout your day?
- What conflicts or trials are you facing in your life right now? How could God be using these things to mold your character? Are you giving Him room to do that?
These are questions I’m asking myself, too. It’s sobering to look hard at the things we aren’t doing, but could be. But if we really want our children to embrace faith in Jesus, we must persevere in ever-increasing Christian maturity.
To see growth in our kids, we must keep growing, too.