Why You Must Re-think How You Raise Your Kids — And Where You Can Begin

Essential New Book So the Next Generation Will Know Releases May 1!

By Tom Gilson Published on April 30, 2019

You’re a Christian parent. You want to raise your kids to understand and believe the faith just as you understand and believe it. You’re doing your best, following all the greatest wisdom you can gather through your own experience, through family, friends, church and the experts. You genuinely love your kids, and you show it in every way you know how.

Will it work? Every Christian parent wants to know. Will they follow Jesus Christ into their adult lives? I don’t know your family, so I can only speak from the general trends. And it grieves me to say it, but if your home is like most Christian homes, the answer is, “probably not.”

That’s not to say there’s no hope — there is, and that’s the point of Sean McDowell and J. Warner Wallace’s outstanding — in fact, essential — new book, So the Next Generation Will Know: Preparing Young Christians for a Challenging World. It’s just going to take a different approach than most parents — Christian educators and youth pastors, too — are taking these days.

Why We’ve Got to Raise Our Kids Differently Now

Proof of that is found in the dire statistics on youth and faith — statistics that are really just a summary of other Christian parents’ experience. Somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of young people raised in believing Christian homes walk away from the faith when they leave home. That’s true whether they go to college or straight into a vocation.

My friend Dr. Timothy McGrew tells of a pastor who thought his church was the exception; that kids there would never leave the faith. A year later he called Tim in tears, crying out for help: His own child had just told him, “I’m an atheist now. I don’t believe what you believe anymore.”

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Yet there’s hope! It’s just going to take a new and different approach, one that’s tailored to the challenges young people face in this new day. For it really is different in this age of smart phones and social media, with a secular comeback to every spiritual claim your pastor makes, with rampant cyber-bullying and pornography, and with atheism and spiritual apathy increasing day by day.

No One Said Parenting Would Be Easy

New approaches don’t come easy. Great parenting never does! But love sacrifices. Those three words happen, by no coincidence at all, to be the title of the first chapter of McDowell and Warner’s book. They’re only asking parents to do what every parent always does: To do whatever it takes to raise their kids healthy and strong in every way, including spiritually.

The authors keep hope alive for today’s Christian parents.

Great Stories, Real Wisdom

They do it through stories of their own experiences as parents, as youth pastors (both of them) and as a Christian educator (McDowell). They’re not asking you to do anything they haven’t.

The authors offer wise, practical advice on everything from boundaries for smart phone use, to what we should teach our kids, to how we can train them for the challenges they’ll face today and in the future.

They emphasize relationships. No parent wants to be a teaching machine; that’s not what this is about. Teaching is actually built on strong relationships, including (for example) listening to their music or watching shows with them, then having open conversations about the meaning behind the media.

Too many parents have found out the painful way, that old familiar parenting advice doesn’t do work like it used to.

The authors recommend respect. Your pre-teen can probably handle a lot more challenge than you expect. That’s even more true for your teen. They probably do face more challenges every day than you realize.

These writers keep it realistic. Want to know what your own son or daughter is dealing with day by day? McDowell and Warner have some great questions you can ask.

Want to know the real question, the hardest one of all — how you can teach them the real truths of the gospel, so they’ll internalize it and stick with it? This book gives you the introduction you need, and guides you toward other resources that can take you the rest of the way.

Re-Think How You’re Raising Your Kids

Because there’s a lot working against your child’s spiritual future. More than you ever faced. More than any American generation in recent memory. Raising your kids to follow Jesus is harder than ever. Too many parents have found out the painful way that old familiar parenting advice doesn’t work like it used to.

We’ve got to re-think this. Actually, we’ve got to do things differently now.

No one’s guaranteeing a perfect outcome; no one could guarantee that. Without a doubt, though, kids have a far better chance if parents equip them well for the world they’re living in — a different world than their parents ever knew.

This book gives you the guidance you need — so the next generation will know.

So the Next Generation Will Know: Preparing Young Christians for a Challenging World by Sean McDowell and J. Warner Wallace is available for pre-order now, and releases on Wednesday, May 1.


Parents, Youth Pastors, Educators: Be sure to Teach ‘Two Whys for Every What


Tom Gilson is a senior editor with The Stream, and the author of A Christian Mind: Thoughts on Life and Truth in Jesus Christ. Follow him on Twitter: @TomGilsonAuthor

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