Here is some great counsel from Elihu on building relationships !with our children as part of his ongoing series on passing a legacy of faith on to the next generation. Blessings and enjoy!

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Last week I kicked off a series on raising the next generation of Christians. (You can read it here). In this series, we will be covering the 6 E’s of raising Gen-Next Christians: Engage, Exemplify, Equip, Entrust, Edify, and Entreat. Each “E” will contain about 3 articles as we will address raising children, training new Christians, and helping each other grow. Today’s article will cover building relationships with children in our congregations.

A Barna Group study reported in 2013, states, “Seven out of 10 Millennials who dropped out of church did not have a close friendship with an adult and nearly nine out of ten never had a mentor at the church.” Furthermore, they report “Those who stay were twice as likely to have a close personal friendship with an adult inside the church (59% of those who stayed report such a friendship versus 31% among those who are no longer active). The same pattern is evident among more intentional relationships such as mentoring—28% of Millennials who stay had an adult mentor at the church other than their pastor, compared to 11% of dropouts who say the same.”

As that study indicates, relationships are not a guarantee that children raised by Christians will remain in the church, but it is apparent that meaningful relationships influence that choice. Your teaching, advice, and (in some cases) rebuke will be better received if you are in a favorable relationship with a child or young adult. If we want people to remain part of the church, we need to do more than wave at them on Sunday morning.

Before we get into the “how’s,” I want to take a moment to make one important note: when I refer to relationships, I refer to those that are appropriate, healthy relationships. I do not condone sexual abuse, rape, extra-marital affairs or anything of the sort. To guard against such things, parents need to get to know the people their child is spending time with. If you aren’t comfortable with a situation, don’t leave your child alone with those individuals. Accompany them, send someone you trust to watch over them, or don’t allow them to go at all. As a preacher, elder, (or any adult male), do not allow yourself to be alone with women or girls to whom you are not related or married. Always have your spouse or a relative present to protect your reputation and that of the child/young adult. For girls/women, the same is true: do not spend time alone with a man without having a relative/spouse present…..read the rest of the post here:Engage: Building Meaningful Relationships with our Children (Raising GenNext)