Checklist Faith

My wife and I taught middle school kids in Sunday School for three years. Nearly 20 years later we’re still good friends with the four core kids. For those three years we were the additional adult voice that said the same things their parents were saying, but sometimes the kids ignored their parents (imagine that!). At that time I said that I hoped when my kids grew up there was an adult who could speak truth to my kids when they chose to ignore me. It is still a constant plea from me to God.

What I wanted to do for those three years and what I want my own kids to experience is that during middle school they need to begin developing their own faith. Parents begin faith development in children as infants and it continues for about ten years. But somewhere in the tween years (11, 12, and 13) kids begin to see that as a child’s faith. Their options are to remain with a child’s faith, develop a faith of their own, or ditch faith altogether.

A checklist faith is merely a faith in which the adherent ticks things off to say they’ve done this, agreed with that, and will do whatever. It is not a personal faith – it is placating someone else; frankly, that isn’t faith.

I struggled with my faith. I screamed and cursed God when my dad died when I was a teenager. I hated him for that. I questioned everything. I read the Bible, cover to cover twice, while still in my teens to see what the “owner’s manual” says. I still wrestle and push back and ask questions. I have a deep and abiding faith in my Creator and Sustainer. It is not a checklist faith.

I hope my kids will develop their own viewpoints. I want them to read the Bible through at least once if not multiple times. I will have hard conversations with them about my faith and theirs. I want them to have a rooted belief in God – roots which they have planted and watered and nurtured.

Don’t settle for a checklist faith and get the t-shirt. Make it yours and not the faith of our fathers.


Lead On!