PARENTS are not passing on their Christian faith to their children, and the vast majority admit that they could be doing more, but don’t, owing to lack of time and a lack of confidence, a new survey suggests.
Research carried out for the charities Care for the Family and Hope found that, although 95 per cent of Christian parents acknowledged that it was their responsibility to teach their children about their faith, less than three-quarters shared Bible stories with them, and only 27 per cent talked about their faith with their children.
Respondents to the survey included children’s workers, church leaders, and practising Christian parents.
The research, published last week as a report, Faith in our Families, says: “Our success or failure in keeping the children of Christian parents in the faith will be by far the biggest factor affecting the health of the Church in 20 or 30 years’ time, yet few churches are supporting parents at home in sharing their faith.”
Earlier research has shown that only half of children with Christian parents grow up to have a faith of their own in adult life.
The executive director of Hope, Roy Crowne, said: “If we are to see children and young people continuing in faith in our churches, we need to help Christian parents to nurture their children’s spirituality. Most children spend only an hour or so a week in a church context, compared to, probably, 30 hours with their parents — and that creates a challenge when we consider the balance of resources going into nurturing children directly through the church, compared to helping parents nurture their children’s faith at home.”
The UK director at Care for the Family, Katharine Hill, said: “By working with churches to give families encouragement, ideas, and resources, we hope to see a significant increase in the number of children from Christian families who grow up to have a vibrant, personal relationship with God as adults.”
Care for the Family is to bring out new resources this autumn to help equip parents to share their faith with their children.
The report is available to download at www.careforthefamily.org.uk.