I Grew Up In a Christian Home, But…
In our early years in ministry, we led dozens of youth retreats and mission trips. Often, when we returned from these “spiritual mountain top” experiences, the church would gather for a worship service where students shared testimonies about the trip. So many of the testimonies began like this: “I grew up in a Christian home, but it was not until I went on this trip that God became real to me.”
At the time, hearing student after student share these sentiments with the church, we thought it was fantastic. Now, as parents of three teens, we think what it would be like if our children stood in front of a church with a similar testimony. How would we respond if our 18-year-old son, RW, stood in front of the church after returning from a mission trip and said, “I grew up in a Christian home, but it was not until I went on this trip that God became real to me”? Our reaction would be decidedly mixed. On one hand, we would rejoice that the Lord had worked in our son’s heart and brought him into a deeper relationship with Jesus. Amen! But at the same time we would be discouraged. 18 years of living in our home, worshiping God together, working through our sins and struggles together, serving together…yet none of these things convinced his heart that God was real and compelled him to want to follow Jesus?
We don’t know what our children will say when they leave our home. They are not little robots that just do what we tell them or want them to do. But our great desire is that our children would experience the truth and power of God through the daily ups and downs of our family life. We never want our faith to be just some sort of lifeless habit—where we go to church because we are supposed to and offer glib prayers before we eat. What our children experience in our home will impact their hearts and faith for a lifetime.
Rob and Amy Rienow
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