What’s the Secret to a Strong Start to the School Year? (Part 2)
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell
So how can we remain close to the “anchor of our soul?” The answers are relatively simple in print, yet only possible when we continually ask the Holy Spirit to empower us. The Bible urges us to draw close, pray, cry out, and petition Him. It pleads with us to stay in the Word and to fix our eyes on Jesus.
The truth is that our faith life greatly influences our children. This may feel convicting, but we often need a solid dose of conviction. A sociologist from the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Christian Smith, summarized the current research this way: “Most teenagers and their parents may not realize it, but a lot of research in the sociology of religion suggests that the most important social influence in shaping young people’s religious lives is the religious life modeled and taught to them by their parents.”1 Kara Powell and Chap Clark state it this way in their book Sticky Faith: “More than even your support, it’s who you are that shapes your kid. In fact, it’s challenging to point to a Sticky Faith factor that is more significant than you. How you express and live out your faith may have a greater influence on your son or daughter than anything else…you are an ongoing companion, guide and fellow journeyer.”2 Similar findings spring up in many spheres of life. Business statistics show that employees tend to do what their leaders do. As famous business leadership expert John C. Maxwell says, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” If leaders are negative, employees will be negative. So if my desire is to help my children develop a vibrant and anchored Christian faith, then I need to pursue my faith with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength.
The Bible also warns us that we are in dangerous waters if we try to sail off alone, without encouragement and support from other Christians. Although our journey is personal, we also have a responsibility to involve others. We humans are imperfect, and we can expect many trials and disappointments along the way. Those disappointments should not be an excuse to quit on meaningful relationships with other Christians. The author of the book of Hebrews admonishes us to keep meeting together in the fellowship of other Christians. James says we ought to confess our sins to each other. Paul tells us to stand firm together, striving side by side in unity for the sake of the gospel of peace. We need each other. Thankfully, there are so many ways to gather with Christians as the school year launches. See our next blog post for ways to stay connected with other Christians on campus.
1–Christian Smith with Melinda Lundquist Denton, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, Oxford Univ. Press, 2005, p.56
2–Kara Powell and Chap Clark, Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids, Zondervan, 2011, p.24
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