[This is an article I wrote for our church newsletter. I would welcome any comments or suggestions you may have. -Peperkorn]
How Do I Speak to My Adult Children About Jesus?
One of the questions that I am often asked as a pastor is how to speak to adult children about Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Every Christian parent, young or old, recognizes that they want their children to believe the Gospel, be baptized, and be connected to the Body of Christ, the Church. This is a part of who we are as Christians, as Saint Paul wrties to the Ephesians “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:3–4)
So the question goes something like this:
But what do I do when my children are adults and have either left the Christian faith entirely or the Christian faith is no longer a meaningful part of their lives? I don’t want to drive them away, but it weighs on me deeply. What can I say or what can I do to bring them back to Christ?
It’s a tough question. There are no simple or stock answers that will fix things, that is for certain. But here are a few ideas to get the conversation started:
- DO love your children continuously. Hold them up in prayer, give them your affection, and help them in any way you can. They are your children. Be their parents. Your actions will speak louder than words.
- DON’T be afraid. I know, that’s hard. There is a lot at stake. But Christ promises that He will never leave nor forsake His children. If God can raise Jesus from the dead, then surely he can change the hearts of His wayward children here on earth!
- DON’T try to argue them back to the Church. Chances are that their falling away from Christ and the Church was the result of years worth of work and attack on Satan’s part. It isn’t so simple as a piece of information is missing. So engaging in an argument will probably just cause a fight and won’t actually get anywhere.
- SHOW them how important this is to you. It is easy to want to avoid talk about Christ and the Church because it might get awkward. But if it is important to you, and they love you, they will want to listen to what you have to say. This might mean bringing it up in different ways. Write a letter, send an email. What about a baptismal anniversary card?
- OFFER to help with transportation or other barriers, especially if there are grandchildren involved. While it may not be everything, demonstrating that you are willing to sacrifice in order to keep them connected, well, it will make a difference.
I know that this isn’t magical and that it is very hard. But God is merciful, and He wants your children here as much as you do! In the words of St. Paul, “…let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
Peace be with you,