Godly Influence

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  May 25, 2013

A minister was greeting parishioners one Sunday morning after worship when he remarked to one member that it had been a long time since her son had been in church. “Oh Pastor,” she responded, “You know how teenagers are. I don’t want to pressure him to go to church. I’m afraid it may turn him off from it altogether. Besides, faith is personal and I’d hate to just push my beliefs onto him.”

Unfortunately, this attitude is far too real in modern American Christianity. The intent is admirable. As Christians, we certainly do not want to take actions that would ultimately turn somebody off to Christ. Likewise, nobody should be bullied into church. But the problem with this thinking is that it is very short-sighted. People who are afraid to pressure children into faith fail to take one very serious factor into consideration. Our children will be pressured. If not by Christians to serve and live for Jesus, they will be pressured by other forces.

Children will be pressured to experiment with illegal drugs and alcohol. Children will be pressured to explore their sexuality. Children will be pressured to compromise their values to gain acceptance and approval from their peers. Children will be pressured to lie so they may protect their friends and cheat to get what they want. It is inevitable!

Not all the pressures will be necessarily negative. There will be pressure to be on a particular sports team or social club. There will be pressure to excel in extra-curricular activities or make the best grade in the class. They will be pressured to assume more and more responsibility as they make the gradual transition toward adulthood. Yes, our children will be pressured. It is inevitable!

There are pressures to spend money for the “in” fashions, or keep up with the hottest trends in popular culture, music, and entertainment. There are phenomenal pressures to “fit in” and guarantee acceptance by this or that crowd.  There is no escaping the fact that children face a tremendous amount of pressure from a diversity of positive and negative forces in modern culture. Positive and negative, all these pressures are also reinforced exponentially by popular media.

As believers, we all have an obligation to make sure the Christian faith is in the forefront of choices presented to children as they face the barrage of options available to them. Otherwise we run the dangerous risk of communicating that band, drugs, football, and sex may be among the possible options, but a relationship with Christ is not. Is that the message we really want to communicate to our children?

The truth is that we cannot control the many choices that are available for our children. The positive aspects of artistic, academic, and athletic achievement will always be there. The destructive forces of drugs, alcohol, and sex are not going to go away.

Our sacred calling in Jesus Christ is to always ensure Christ is at the top of the list. In the Sixth Chapter of Deuteronomy God makes it clear that the teaching of faith is the responsibility of the older generation to the younger one. Plus, God does not make it an option for us to consider later. It is not about pressuring our youth. It is about influencing them with Christ’s love.

This summer, make it a point to share Christ and your church with a young person. Pray for the youth of your church and in Carlsbad that the Spirit of God may reach into their hearts in new and powerful ways. Let this be the summer of Christ’s influence!