Parents play a critical role in young adults faith development and retention.
Young people cannot emulate faith behavior they don’t see. When parents don’t prioritize worship and
congregational engagement, young people won’t either.
When parents are open to tough conversations about life and faith, young people are more likely to stay
in the church.
Parents remain the number the one person who impacts faith lives of young people.
The 2017 LCMS Study of Young Adults says:
Today’s Active LCMS Young Adults were the most likely to see a high level of faith practiced by their parents. This included frequent Bible reading at home, praying as a family, regular church attendance of both parents together (continuing even today), and at least one parent having a service or leadership role in the church.
**Interestingly, of all the other profiles, parents of Nominal LCMS are least likely to be leaders in the church, read the Bible with their children, and attend worship regularly now or in the past.
Today’s Active LCMS young adults were also the most likely to have a good relationship with parents in high school. They felt they related well in general, specifically with dad, they felt they could talk to both parents about life issues, they felt they could talk openly with at least one parent about faith, and they felt safe bringing up their questions and doubts to their parents. Nearly 1-in-3 young adults listed a parent as one of the most influential people in their lives. While that influence was usually positive, those who left the LCMS were more than twice as likely to say a parent had a negative influence (13% vs 5%).
Engage youth and young adults in service and leadership
Engaging young leaders helps to keep the congregation energized and keeps them open to new ideas.
Leadership roles give young adults a chance to use their gifts in a safe place where their identity is not in their achievement.
Young leaders may have roles like usher, Sunday School teacher or trustee, and children and teens are seeing examples of how to transition into adulthood in faith communities. Having young leaders helps retain children and teens through graduation and into adulthood.
Create a safe environment in congregations and congregational youth ministry
Be open to challenging conversation and model thoughtful engagement around tough topics.
Prepare for and navigate crisis or pivotal moments
Stand firm in what we believe because young people are looking for authentic truth, even if they disagree. Share truth in a way that builds relationship and leads with grace.
2017 LCMS Study of Young Adults LCMS Research Services and LCMS Youth Ministry