Pop star Katy Perry talked about denouncing her Christian upbringing in a recent interview.
While her story may be upsetting for some, it is sadly not unique among Millennials.
So what should Christian parents do to help their children truly come to know Christ?
Christian apologetics expert Dr. Alex McFarland has written about that in his book, "Abandoned Faith: Why Millennials Are Walking Away, and How You Can Lead Them Home."
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McFarland says parents need to know how to arm their children with knowledge about how to defend their faith against a world that says it is just fairytales.
"We need to teach our kids apologetics and the evidence for the faith," he told CBN News.
He also says parents of millennials should teach their children that the gospel is not just a "get-out-of-Hell-free" card, but is a call to discipleship and a public declaration that our life is not our own.
"I think in American Christianity we don't set forth enough the reality that we are to lay down our life for our savior," he says. "As believers, we don't really have the right to call the shots. We are His followers for life."
Often times the first glimpse of faith millennials get is by seeing their parents cherish an authentic relationship with God.
"Let your child know that the priority in your personal life, in your marriage, and in your home as a family, the priority is Jesus Christ for life," McFarland says.
In other words, lead by example and train up your child in the way they should go.
He says parents should take church seriously, read the Bible together, pray regularly, and talk about faith around the dinner table.
"Kids need to see reality, authenticity, and genuineness, in the heart of their parents," he says. "When they see it in the life of mom and dad it will become a priority in their own hearts as well.
We asked McFarland off camera what he'd say to parents who have done "everything" but their child is rebelling or indifferent and breaking their hearts. Here's his response:
For the parent of a prodigal, my first response is to say….. “Don’t give up. Have hope.
It has been said, “Never doubt in the dark what God has told you in the light.”
Let me explain how this applies to the situation of a prodigal. It is in a time of emotional anguish that we must remind ourselves of the rock-solid promises of God’s Word.
We know that God’s Word does not fail, it does not return void, and Scripture will accomplish the purpose God intends for it (Isaiah 55:11; Matthew 24:35)
Though your child is running from God (or appearing to ignore God), the Scriptures they heard growing up will be like “a stone in their shoe,” reminding them of God, and when they’re in sin- the pure truth of God’s Word will prick their heart and soul- reminding them of their previous commitment / interaction with the Lord.
Also, Mom & Dad, remember that as much as you love your child…. God loves them even more. You think you’re concerned for your child’s spiritual health? Multiply that exponentially, and that is God’s care about them!
Be assured that the Holy Spirit is calling to them….. nudging them….. gently (and not-so-gently)…. the Holy Spirit is working to get their attention.
Finally- to the parent of a prodigal who really did try to do their best…. Don’t beat yourself up. God is the perfect parent, having placed Adam and Eve in a perfect environment, and yet they sinned.
Remember that your child has a free will. Salvation is offered…. never forced.
Do not let concern over your child become an obstacle Satan uses to come between you and God.
Keep the faith, be fervent in prayer, be consistent in your role modeling of Christian living- but remember (like so much of life) it is ultimately in God’s hands.
Do your best, say your prayers, and then sleep well at night. You’re doing all you can do- and ultimately the prodigal child is answerable to God.
I receive at least 2 or 3 stories per week of prodigals who come home (to Christ). The long seasons of rebellion are- frequently- concluded with a rock-solid return to the Lord.