Avoiding Faith Deconstruction: Strategies for Christian Parents

June 25, 2024

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In this episode, we address a pressing concern for many Christian parents: how to raise children who won't deconstruct and leave their faith. With the recent trend of deconstruction, it's crucial to focus on raising faithful disciples of Jesus. We'll explore strategies to instill lasting faith in your children, helping them walk in truth and hold fast to Christ.


Note: The following is an auto-transcript of the podcast recording.

Hello friends. Our podcast question for today says, our question/concern is how to raise children in a way that they will not deconstruct and leave their faith when they grow older. This is a really important question for us to think through, and I think that it's a fear that a lot of Christian parents have, especially just with the recent fad of deconstruction and how many people who formerly claim the name of Christ we're now seeing are very loudly and boldly deconstructing their faith, leaving Christianity all together. And we know that as Christian parents, we can have no greater joy than to know that our children are walking in the truth and raising faithful disciples of Jesus should be our primary goal in any and every situation with our kids. So how can we raise them in a way in which they will not deconstruct?

That's the question we're going to dive down deep into today. But before we do that, for those of you who are not familiar with me, my name is Elizabeth Urbanowicz and I run Foundation Worldview. And the goal of this Foundation Worldview podcast is to answer your questions so that you can equip the children that God has placed in your care to carefully evaluate every idea they encounter and understand the truth of the biblical worldview.

Now, as we think about how can we raise children who will not deconstruct and leave the faith, this really is a million dollar question, and the answer is, it is impossible to guarantee this. There is no surefire formula for do A, B, C, and D, and your children will never deconstruct or leave the faith. And the reason for this is God has given us something called free will, and so we ultimately cannot control whether or not our children will turn from their sin and trust in Jesus.

However, what we can do and what we are required to do as parents who are following Jesus is to make sure that the elements of growth are in place. Now, I think this is a really helpful analogy. It's one that I first heard from Barb Wilson, my bible study leader when I used to live just outside of Chicago. And what we need to think of is we need to think of a plant. When we take seeds and seek to grow a garden or grow a full grown mature plant, we ultimately have no control over whether that seed will germinate, take root, and then grow into a mature plant. However, what we can do and what it is our responsibility to do in that situation is ensure that the elements of growth are in place. For example, we should plant that seed in good, rich soil. We should make sure that that seed receives plenty of sunlight. We should also make sure that it is watered daily or however many times a day or times a week, it needs to be watered to ensure that it can grow. Once we have those elements for growth in place, the good soil, the sunshine, the water, then we have to leave the results to God because we have no ultimate control over whether or not that seed will germinate. And we've done our responsibility when we've put those elements for growth in place. However, if we just take the seed, we stick it in some random pile of dirt, don't know really the quality of it, we don't know exactly how much sunshine it gets, maybe we'll water it here or there, but we're not very consistent with it. What we're doing is we're pretty much guaranteeing that that seed has a much lesser chance of germinating taking root and growing into a full grown plant. And so it's similar with our children. Ultimately we have zero control over whether they will choose to repent of their sin and believe the gospel. However, what we can do is we can put in place the elements for growth that are needed.

So one thing I'm going to recommend is I'm going to go through some of these elements for growth very, very quickly because in this podcast we really seek to keep this podcast under 20 minutes long. However, if you would like a full-blown treatment of this topic, highly recommend that you check out the first session in our Foundation Worldview Parenting series, and you can get this first session for free. You can just request a sample of the parenting seminar and you can watch this first session and it's a full 45 minute session on what are the different elements for growth that we need to make sure we have in place? What are different things we need to look and make sure we have in our family, rhythms and routines, all of these type of things. So highly recommend you check out that series. What I'm going to go through right now is just really quickly some of those things that we do need to have in place.

Now as we're thinking about raising up faithful disciples. There's three different parts that we need to make sure that we are fostering. Now, a really cheesy way to say these three parts, but I think is super easy to remember, is to remember that we need to disciple our kids' hearts, their hands and their heads, their hearts, their hands, and their heads. And so each part is essential for the discipleship process. So when we're thinking about the heart, what we're doing as we're discipling the heart is fostering positive gospel-centered relationships with them that we want to make sure that we are building relationship with them, that we know them well and that they know us well and that they can trust us. And this is essential for discipleship.

I remember one time hearing on a podcast, Sean McDowell was talking about when he was first starting to question whether or not Christianity was true when he was in college and he told his dad this. And for him this was a big deal because his dad was the famous or is the famous, Josh McDowell, the famous apologist. And his dad's response was something, I'm not going to quote it exactly, it was a while ago I heard this podcast, but his dad's response was something to the effect of, you know what, son, I'm so excited for you and I have confidence that you will be rooted in Christianity. And Sean McDowell said that he asked his dad later why did have that confidence. And his dad said because of the relationship that he had with him that he knew that he had such a strong relationship with his son, that his son would come back, that his son would understand the truth of the biblical worldview. And so this is one essential element that we need to make sure that we're fostering positive gospel centered relationships. Now, this doesn't mean that we become best friends with our kids because that's not our role as parents, but it does mean that we intentionally live out this role as parents, we make sure that we are understanding our kids, we make sure that we're loving them intentionally, we're also loving them according to their love language, that we're making sure that we're disciplining them in a way that's really getting to the heart of the matter, and that after discipline, there's times of confession and repentance and restoring the relationship. So that's just a little bit on discipling at the heart.

We also need to make sure that we're discipling the hands and this is just the routines that we implement in our home. We need to make sure that we have routines in our home that align with the biblical worldview. What are we doing in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening to ensure that our kids are being grounded in the biblical worldview? Are we attending corporate worship on Sunday consistently? Are we serving consistently? Are we reading Scripture together? Are we talking about the shows and the books and other media that we consume through the lens of Scripture? We just need to make sure that we have this daily routine established in our home. So that's the hands.

And then for the head, we must equip our children to carefully evaluate every idea that they encounter. And those of you who are familiar with the Foundation Worldview ministry, you know that this is what we focus on. At Foundation Worldview, we primarily focus on discipleship of the head. Now we don't focus on discipleship of the head because it's more important because discipleship of the head is not more important. Discipleship of the heart, the hands and the head are all equally important. The reason that we focus on discipleship of the head at Foundation Worldview is because that is often the most confusing portion of discipleship, especially in the time and culture in which we are living. So we're going to spend a little bit more time in this podcast focusing in on the head, but again, if you want a full-blown treatment of this topic and really want to spend some significant time diving down into what does it mean to disciple the heart, what does it mean to disciple the hands? Highly recommend you check out our Parenting series here at Foundation Worldview.

Before we dive down deep into the head, just ask that you invest the two seconds that it takes to rate and review this content. Because currently less than 20% of our faithful followers have actually rated our content and rating. It just helps us get it out to more people so that we can equip even more Christian adults to get their kids carefully evaluating every idea they encounter and understanding the truth of the biblical worldview.

Now, as we think about the head and discipling the head, there's a few things that are really important that we do, and there's a few things that we want to help guide you through here at Foundation Worldview. And the first thing is we need to ground them in the biblical worldview. We need to help them understand what Scripture says about all reality. For those of you who have taken the children in your care through our Biblical Worldview course for kids and up and are Studying the Bible course for kids eight on up, that's exactly what we're seeking to do in this course. In the Biblical Worldview. One, we're looking at five big elements. We're looking at truth, God, life, humanity, and morality. And we're saying, okay, what does the Bible teach about these topics? Then in our Studying the Bible Curriculum, we actually look at, okay, how do we read the Bible? How do we understand what God has revealed in the Bible? And we look at the whole story of Scripture in the first unit. In the second unit, we look at important Bible study skills that we need to have, and in the third unit we explore how do we correctly read each genre of Scripture. And so we want to make sure our kids have this foundation that they understand what Scripture teaches about things.

I just recently saw a family in my church start to implement some of these things. They have little boys who are ages five and six, and they really wanted to ground them in Scripture. And so what they've been doing is they have been going through a chronological Bible reading plan with their boys every day before school and have been reading Scripture with them. And because they started this at such a young age, their boys have really been growing in their muscle memory of being able to listen and comprehend, and now their five and 6-year-old can sit down for 15 to 20 minutes every morning and listen to Scripture being read and then asking good questions. So we want to make sure we're grounding our kids in this biblical worldview.

Another thing we need to do is we need to help them see how Christianity compares with other worldviews because they're constantly faced with messages from competing worldviews, and one day they're going to have to decide whether or not they believe that Christianity actually lines up with reality. So we want to help them at a young age to understand how different worldviews answer some of these same questions that Christianity answers. Those of you who have taken your children through our Comparative Worldview curriculum for kids eight on up, this is exactly what we do in that curriculum. We cover those same topics I mentioned before, truth, God, life, humans and morality. And we look at what are the clues in life and the world point us to. What has Scripture revealed and then what do other worldviews teach? So that they have the opportunity to compare and contrast because we want them to discover for themselves that Christianity consistently lines up with reality.

I saw this in my own life. I first taught Foundation Comparative Worldview curriculum when I developed it, which was just for the students who were in my own class. And several years after I started teaching that course to my students, one of my former students, her mom texted me and told me that her daughter was starting to doubt God's existence and could I pray for her? And I said, of course, I'll be praying for her. I said, can I also take out for ice cream? And so this young woman and I, she was in seventh grade, but at the time, and she and I went out for ice cream. We were talking about a whole bunch of different things, and then I said, Hey, I hope you don't mind, but your mom shared with me that you're starting to wonder whether or not God is real. And she hung her head and she said, yeah, my mom and dad have told me that God is real and that the Bible's true. And all my teachers have told me that. She's like, but I pray all the time and I never see God answering my prayers. It's like my prayers are bouncing off the ceiling and I'm just wondering if I'm praying and God isn't answering, doesn't that mean that he's not really there? And so I surprised her a little bit. I said, oh, this is so exciting. And she kind of looks at me like I have three heads. And I said, you're going to start to evaluate whether or not you really believe that Christianity is true. And so I reminded her of this course that she had taken with me several years before, and I said, if you decide that you believe that Christianity is not true, that it doesn't show the way the world really is, and you take off the Christian worldview, you don't have no worldview, you're going to have another worldview. I said, I want you to think through when we took that class together, what are some big questions that every worldview has to answer? And so she went through and she named a few questions. I said, you know what? I want you to pick one of those questions. And so she picked one, and I said, I want you to talk through what are some of the different ways that different worldviews answer this question. And so she was just talking and talking and talking. She's a very intelligent young woman. So she remembered a lot from the course, and all of a sudden she did this little gasp. And I said, what, she said, oh my goodness, I never thought about this. But actually taking God out of the picture makes it so that none of the answers to these questions make any sense. It's actually going to be harder for me to believe that God doesn't exist than that He does exist. I might not feel like he exists, but that's where all the evidence is pointing. And I said, oh, isn't that really interesting? Now, that's not the end of her faith journey. That's not the end of her questions or her doubts or her concerns, but it was so exciting for me to see. I could just ask her a few basic questions. And she was able to come up on her own with realizing that the evidence in the world around us consistently points to the God of the Bible.

So after we have grounded our kids in the biblical worldview, help them see how Christianity compares to other worldviews, then we want to equip them to carefully evaluate every idea that comes their way. This is something those of you who have taken the children in your care through our Careful Thinking curriculum, know that's exactly what we do in our Careful Thinking curriculum. We give them the skills that they need to evaluate any idea that comes their way. Now, when we think about giving these teaching these careful thinking skills, what we need to think of is we need to think of transferable skills, so skills that our kids can learn in one way, but then they can transfer into any other situation.

I like to think of it like reading. Think about when you were taught to read. You weren't just taught a whole list of words that you had to memorize and then read that you were taught 26 different letters and the sounds that correspond to those letters. Then you were taught to put those letters together to form words. And once you had mastered those 26 letters and the corresponding sounds, and then how to put those sounds together, you can now read any word that comes your way where if you had just been taught a list of words to memorize, you would've been completely dependent on some teacher for the rest of your life to teach you how to read each individual word. And so we don't want to just give pump our kids full of facts for them to memorize, but we also want to teach them how to think well so that they can transfer those thinking skills into any and every situation that they encounter.

We saw this recently at Foundation Worldview just with a mom who wrote in and shared about a situation where her second grader had encountered an adult in the second grader's school that was a man, but was presenting himself as a woman. And the mom said that when she heard this internally, she was kind of freaking out because she hadn't covered with her son transgenderism. And then she asked her son what he thought about this. And because she had already taken him through one of our curriculums and had already given him the transferable skill of discerning the difference between objective truths and subjective emotions, her son said, well, mom, it was really sad. And she said, well, why was it sad? And he said, well, this man is not believing the truth about who God made him. Instead, he's choosing to believe his feelings. And so this mom hadn't talked with her son about transgenderism at all, but he was able to take the transferable thinking skills that she had equipped him with and then implement them in a cultural situation that neither of them knew he was going to encounter that day.

So those are just some three basic things we need to do in discipleship of the head. Ground our kids in the biblical worldview equip them to see how Christianity compares with other worldviews and then equip them to carefully evaluate every idea that comes their way. Just as a reminder, at the beginning, we talked about discipleship of the heart and the hands as well, which are just as important. If you'd like more information on that, check out our Parenting series. Then with discipleship of the head, if you have not yet checked out a Foundation Worldview curriculum, highly recommend that you do so because our goal here at Foundation Worldview is we want to be this resource for you that's seamless and easy. You play our video-based curriculums with the God is placed in your care, and give them these skills that they need to ground them in the biblical worldview, help them understand how Christianity aligns with reality, and then give them the transferable skills they need to think and carefully evaluate every idea they encounter.

Then, as I hope should go without saying, but I'm going to say it just in case it doesn't go without saying that it is so foundational that we be praying for our children daily, that there is an enemy of their souls who would like nothing more than to keep them from the God of this universe. And so we need to pray for them. We need to go to battle for them through prayer every day, and we need to trust God in this process because only God can take a heart of stone and turn it into a heart of flesh.

Well, that's a wrap for this episode. But as always, my prayer for you as we leave this time together is it, no matter the situation in which you and the children God has placed in your care, find yourselves that you would trust that God is working all things together for your good. By using all things to conform you more into the image of His Son. I'll see you next time.

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