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Raising Spiritual Champions...What Does the Data Say


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Overview of data on predictors of positive spiritual development in kids from Protestant families.

Published in: Spiritual, Self Improvement
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Raising Spiritual Champions...What Does the Data Say

  1. 1. Raising Spiritual Champions: What Does the Data Say? Stephen Grcevich, MD Child and Adolescent Psychiatry President, Board of Directors Key Ministry Foundation April 1, 2011Key Ministry Foundation, 8401 Chagrin Road, Suite 14B, Chagrin Falls, OH 44023Stephen Grcevich, MD, President (440) 543-3400, E-mail: drgrcevich@fcbtf.orgRebecca Hamilton, Executive Director (440) 708-4488 Web:
  2. 2. What constitutes a “Spiritualchampion?” An irrepressible follower of Jesus Christ who accepts the Bible as truth, lives by its principles and seeks ways to impact the world and continually deepen his or her relationship with God. George Barna, Revolutionary Parenting, Tyndale (2007)
  3. 3. Sources of data: Search Institute Study of Impact of Christian Education…3 ½ year long study, 2,365 kids, primarily from mainline denominations (PC- USA, UMC, UCC, ELCA, Disciples of Christ, Southern Baptists as comparison group) Lifeway research project…Clay Reed, Ed Stetzer…to be published in upcoming book Barna Group: Research summarized in book Revolutionary Parenting (Tyndale Press, 2007)Benson PL, Elkin CH. Search Institute (1990)Lifeway Exchange, November, 2010: Barna Group, Ventura, CA
  4. 4. Challenges faced by Christianparents (Barna, 2003): By age 9, most children have their spiritual moorings in place Four out of every five churched kids in the US do not know what worship is Less than 5% of churched kids have developed a biblical worldview by age 13 Less than 5% of churched households ever worship God outside a church service or have any regular Bible study or devotional time together A biblical worldview is characterized by: belief in absolute moral truth, as contained in the Bible, believes the Bible is accurate in its teachings, Jesus led a sinless life, Satan is real, all believers are responsible for sharing their faith with others, the only means to salvation is by grace through faith in Christ, and God is the all- knowing and powerful creator of the universe, and still rules today.
  5. 5. What are the odds of professing faith in Christ by age? Age Category: Likelihood of first expression of faith in Christ (percent of US population): 5-12 32% 13-18 4% 19+ 6%George Barna: Transforming Kids into Spiritual Champions, Regal Publishing (2003)
  6. 6. Characteristics of a SpiritualChampion Accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior Accepts the Bible as truth, a guide for life Biblical worldview shapes decision-making Believe in moral absolutes Believe he/she has been created to serve and honor God in specific ways Believe their life should reflect the character of Christ Donate generously time and money to spiritual causesGeorge Barna: Transforming Kids into Spiritual Champions, Regal Publishing (2003)
  7. 7. Sources of Data: Search Institute Study ofImpact of Christian Education 3 ½ year study designed to evaluate impact of Christian education in five mainline denominations (PC-USA, UMC, UCC, ELCA, Disciples of Christ), plus Southern Baptist Convention Primary focus was mainline churches, comparisons made to SBC churches Study hypothesis: revitalized Christian education may reverse decline of mainline denominations Funded by Lilly Endowment in 1987Benson PL, Elkin CH. Search Institute (1990)
  8. 8. Predictors of “Integrated Faith”development in teens:Most important: “Family Religiousness”: Frequency of discussions with mother or father about faith Frequency of family prayer (exclusive of meals), family devotions, Bible study Frequency with which parents and children together were involved in activities to help others Lifetime involvement in Christian educationBenson, PL, Elkin CH. Search Institute (1990)
  9. 9. Predictors of “Integrated Faith”development in teens (less important): Next in importance: Lifetime church involvement, religiousness of best friends, experience of a “caring” church, lifetime involvement in serving others, non-church religious activities Of lesser importance: age (9th and 10th grade lowest), gender (females>males), geography (South, North-Central highest)Benson, PL, Elkin CH. Search Institute (1990)
  10. 10. Lifeway Study…Predictors of PositiveSpiritual Outcomes in Adults: 1. Regularly spent time in prayer...42% of families prayed together as a family several times a week 2. Achieved good grades 3. Child was not "rebellious" as a child or teen 4. Connected with pastor or youth pastor 5. Did not use time out to discipline child...49% used time out 6. Regularly served at church while growing up 7. Participated in ministry or service projects as a family November, 2010
  11. 11. Predictors of raising a spiritualchampion: Families with fewer children Firstborn child more likely to become champion Married vs. single parents Parents view parenting as their primary job in life Socioeconomics not a significant factorGeorge Barna. Revolutionary Parenting. Tyndale (2007)
  12. 12. Predictors of raising a spiritualchampion: Single-income households Radically more time spent with children on a daily basis (independently verified average is 90-120 minutes of active dialogue per day with a parent!, US average=less than 15 minutes) Intentional pursuit of faith maturity: 1. Family conversations that bring biblical views into their shared lives 2. Regular engagement in faith activities (Bible study, worship, prayer) that model integration of faith into their livesGeorge Barna. Revolutionary Parenting. Tyndale (2007)
  13. 13. Parents of Spiritual Champions: Attitudes Toward theChurch’s Role in Faith Development of Kids: Parents (not the church) have primary responsibility for faith training of kids Church’s role is to reinforce lessons taught at home Parents want to be more aware of their child’s church experience, are more likely than typical parents to withdraw their children if the experience doesn’t meet the parent’s expectations Parent satisfaction with children’s/youth ministry was inversely proportional to their expectationsGeorge Barna. Revolutionary Parenting. Tyndale (2007)
  14. 14. Parents of spiritual championsfocus upon character development: Society focuses upon honing skills and grasping information Parents of spiritual champions “were more concerned about the love they show fellow students as to whether they outperform them” Character matters more than achievementGeorge Barna. Revolutionary Parenting. Tyndale (2007)
  15. 15. Parenting strategies of championparents: Clear rules that children understood, were consistently enforced without malice, both parents operated with agreement and consistency Placed time limits on kids/enforced curfew Influenced their child’s choice of friends (but cautiously and quietly) Established media limits (TV time, ratings of movies, etc.) Expectation that the child will live by the family’s rules and embrace the family’s valuesGeorge Barna. Revolutionary Parenting. Tyndale (2007)
  16. 16. Parents of spiritual champions: Attitudestoward rules at home (Barna, 2007): 96% of champion parents feared a loss their relationship with their child if they fought over every circumstance in which they disagreed Champion families shared twelve common rules: 1. Always tell the truth, regardless of circumstances or consequences 2. Never cheat or steal 3. Always show respect to others 4. Help others whenever the opportunity arises 5. Control your tongue 6. Don’t judge motives of others, only behavior affecting you personally 7. Take good care of your body 8. Be active in the pursuit of your faith 9. Work hard in school to produce the most excellent work possible 10. Carry out household chores 11. Make sure at least one parent always knows where you are 12. Accept the penalties for inappropriate behavior
  17. 17. Faith characteristics of championparents: Genuinely love God Pray daily Worship regularly Read the Bible habitually Participate in the life of a spiritual community Apply their resources, spiritual gifts and natural abilities frequently to influence livesGeorge Barna. Revolutionary Parenting. Tyndale (2007)
  18. 18. Behaviors of champion parents: Convey a sense of control at home Sensitive to the impact of their words Often provided explanations for directives Self-sacrificial, willingness to prioritize family was hallmark of fathers of champions Highly engaged, invested time, willing to listen Purposeful modeling of traits they wished their children would display: respect, patience, love Insistence upon faith in God and obedience to biblical principles Assumed responsibility for in fostering their child’s faithGeorge Barna. Revolutionary Parenting. Tyndale (2007)
  19. 19. Summary: Across studies, the most important predictors of positive spiritual outcomes in kids include… Regular prayer times together as a family Regular family devotionals/Bible Study Serving others together as a family Lifetime church attendance Meaningful connections with adults outside the family through church (senior pastor, youth pastor) Time spent in conversation with parents on a daily basis
  20. 20. Provides FREE training,consultation, resources andsupport to help churches serve,welcome and include families ofkids with hidden disabilities
  21. 21. Stay in Touch!Church4EveryChild…Steve’s Key Ministry Blog:http://drgrcevich.wordpress.comDiving For Pearls…Katie Wetherbee’s Key Ministry Blog!/drgrcevich!/KeyMinistry