Recently i heard it stated that the majority of the population solidify what they think about religion by the age of 13. this is something that has struck me as shocking, not because i did not believe that it could be true but because of all the false pictures of what true faith looks like through out the western world. specifically in the church in the west, there is a huge crime being done in shaping a generation of people to think that they wont have to be responsible to their faith, outside of inviting them to a building to see a display of Christians worshiping, through teaching of the word, expression in music and prayer, and giving. the process of disciple making has been deduced to teaching people how to offer an invitation to a building, rather than teaching them to live a life in which faith expressions define who they are. these faith expressions manifest themselves in showing the person of God in the way that they speak and act.
The fundamental problem with what is happening in the church in the west today is that it has no congruence with what Jesus commanded of the disciples “all authority has been given to me on heaven and on earth therefore go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you and behold I am with you always to the end of the age.” as we look to what Jesus is saying there is an importance of teaching people how to live in the same manner as Jesus did, to teach them to express their faith in incredible ways, to observe the gathering of believers in a way that is encouraging and moves them to reach out and share Christ with others.
So what does this have to do with the earlier stat? as we engage in church it should be done in a way that does not misdirect children to think that the gathering is the end all. likewise as we express faith it should be in such a way that is consistent with the biblical standard: caring for the helpless, loving one another, living lives of balance, so that children might have a good example of what it is to be a Christian. if the charge toward true Christianity is not real and taken up by all believers we will find a smaller and smaller percentage of children who will have a favorable view of God. Moreover if we do not look toward practicing real expressions of fellowship (church) we will find fewer and fewer children who will look to be apart of fellowship with other believers.
at the end of the discussion we must be willing to ask the question is what we are doing consistent with the biblical standard? are the expression of fellowship and faith consistent with what the bible says about them. are we defaulting to a tradition that has been refined and “perfected” over the last 100yrs? as we ask these questions they should drive us toward the bible so to see what Jesus has to say about the actions of those who follow him, and what true fellowship really looks like.