Taking ’em to church

Spike Lee’s about to drop a new movie.  Red Hook Summer chronicles the story of a boy from Atlanta who comes to spend the summer with his Grandfather in Brooklyn.

In our Religion and Media class we spent some time talking today about how faith is passed on.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that our churches are aging.  Let’s look at the ELCA for example:

Asking Spike Lee about church he had this to say “Any church whose members are senior citizens and there’s no youth coming behind, they’re going to die out,” Lee said in a roundtable discussion with reporters.

“Now that goes for synagogues, mosques, temples too — any institution,” Lee continued. “You got to always try to have that infusion of youth. They might not be as smart but youth has energy.”

We’re living in a day and age where the church must now compete to keep youth involved, as well as our adults.  Increasingly there are more households that are unfamiliar with being involved in a faith community.

As part of our discussion today we focused on how faith formation primarily takes place in the home.  The challenge is to help parents understand that they don’t need to be experts to create spaces and opportunities for faith to grow.

One of the examples that was shared about families engaging in faith practices with their children involved reading 40 bible stories during the 40 days of lent.  Taking a few minutes each night to pass on these stories, helps to familiarize and solidify some of the important stories we find in scripture.

What are your some of the ways you share your faith in the home?  How can we utilize and encourage our youth to use their energy to live into and share their faith?


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3 Responses to Taking ’em to church

  1. Mary Hess says:

    A great question! I’ll have to come back to see what people say in response. And Spike Lee’s comment reminds me of Joyce Mercer’s book, “Welcoming Children.” She makes the same claim (albeit in a more nuanced scholarly way, but still!).

  2. theologizethenews says:

    Thanks for pointing me to that graph. I had never seen that visualized before but knew it to be true.
    At my internship church, they did an Advent prayer chain to be used in the home during Advent and Christmas. Each link had a different thing to pray for or an activity to do as a family. I heard really great stories from some of the families about the types of conversations it led them into.

    • Thanks for sharing your prayer chain idea. Did the families come up with the different idea links on their own and did any of the families swap links to pray for one another?

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