God and teens

My kids enjoy church {right now}.  They are active in their youth group and enjoy serving alongside their youth pastor in different ministry opportunities.  They {sometimes} enjoy serving alongside their dad and I.  So, why am I worried about their relationship with God?

  • Statistics show that more than 50% of kids their age {13-17} attend church on a regular basis.  BUT, that number drops to less than 35% between 18-29.
  • There are so many competing interests for my kids time and energy.  I want God to remain the PRIMARY voice that they hear and discern as they go through life.
  • Departure from church often times means that the kids are “taking a break” from their faith all together.  I have been there and done that- YIKES!

What can I do to encourage my kids {particularly my seventeen year old} to keep faith a priority as societal temptations, distractions and ambition compete for their attention?

  1. Trust God.  When the prodigal son left, the father did not chase him down and beg him not to go. He trusted and hoped that he would return.  As our kids grow up, we have to relinquish {more and more} control and increase our faith and trust that God has got their outcome in His hands.
  2. Lead by example.  Our kids need to see consistency from their parents and the adults they respect in their lives.  Even if my kids one day make the choice not to go to church, it will remain an expectation when they are living in our house {and a strong encouragement when they are visiting}. 
  3. Tell my story.  So often, we are nervous to tell our kids that we messed up in our past.  As my kids get older, I see that God can use the mistakes of my past as a real life illustration to show the dangers of wandering away from God {and His awesome, redemptive power}.
  4. Love, love and more love.  No matter the choices my children make I must love them anyway.  This reality has been tested in my life already with our oldest son and I can tell you that love is a universal language.  It gets through when nothing else can.  {and that includes the language of tough love when necessary}.

Do you worry about your child’s faith as they grow and leave home? 

As always, please link up your teen/tween related posts below:



  1. So good, Melissa. I am already looking ahead to these challenges with Casiday … how to nurture her in her faith, how to encourage her to take ownership of her relationship with God … so many questions and so few answers. Only one really … live out my relationship with God, my faith, in front of her – failure and success – and keep on teaching, challenging, and listening as we go.

  2. McMurray0506 says:

    I laughed at the 18-29 statistic because that is EXACTLY when I stopped being in church consistently. I think some of it is circumstantial, like moving away from your home and home church (it has taken us a looooong time to choose a church). You are on your own and no one tells you where to go. And sleeping in…ahhhhh. But like you said, if you give them the good foundation, they will return… and act like a fool as a VBS volunteer someday!


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Melissa Smallwood, Shelly. Shelly said: RT @multitaskingme Teen/Tween Thursday is up! Today, my post is talking about God and teens. http://bit.ly/ddSv6t […]

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  3. […] about something that had already been on my mind.  A few weeks ago, during Teen/Tween Thursday I wrote about parental responsibility in our children’s spiritual […]

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