How can you keep your child from losing faith during his or her college years -- and well beyond that time period?
A new book takes on the pressing issues of faith, practicing that faith, and today's millennials.
In the book, "Abandoned Faith: Why Millennials Are Walking Away and How You Can Lead Them Home," co-authors Alex McFarland and Jason Jimenez cite a disturbing study from LifeWay Research and Fuller Youth Institute. The study estimated that more than half of high school graduates will leave the church and become disengaged in their faith.
"This is alarming because many emerging adults are making big decisions that affect more than just their own lives -- and they are making those decisions without faith in God," the authors write.
"Many, many parents I meet want desperately to see their children stay close to God and the faith taught in their home and church," McFarland told LifeZette. "But as cultural influences, friends, media and host of other pressures inundate them, it sometimes can be difficult to stay true, especially for young people who are questioning their futures."
McFarland, based in Greenville, South Carolina, is a religion and culture expert, national talk show host, speaker and author of 18 books, of which "Abandoned Faith" is his latest. He also serves as director for Christian Worldview and Apologetics at the Christian Worldview Center of North Greenville University in Greenville. He also spent 20-plus years training teens and adults in the biblical worldview, including as teen apologetics director at Focus on the Family. He is a regular contributor to LifeZette as well.
Loss of faith among the younger generation might be an issue -- but what can be done to change it?
"From speaking with tens of thousands of young people over the years, I have learned that if they have just a few adults who will come alongside them and encourage them to grow in their faith, there's a much better chance they will remain in the church and rooted in Jesus long into adulthood," he said. "One or two positive influences can make a world of difference in the faith -- and life -- of a young person."
"There are many reasons why young people may become disillusioned with church, religious organizations or faith in general, such as mistrust, skepticism, rebelling against a negative experience, pressure from atheist or agnostic friends, or a variety of other influences," explained McFarland.