1. I am the youngest man in my Bible study. I'm just about 61. Almost all of the men in the study are saddened by the fact that one or more of their children no longer attend church. Their children claim Christ but....
2. There is a child in our congregation who is very smart. Well instructed in the Bible. Knows the stories. Does not attend Sunday School or any of our youth groups or events.
3. Our theology at our church is so jumbled up it is hard to know what denomination we are.
4. Most people don't care what our theology or doctrines are.
5. There is no knowledge test you have to pass to walk through the Pearly Gates.
6. You do have to know someone to get in, though.
These six little statements are very important for parents. Our relationship with Christ is primarily held together not by theology or principles or Bible knowledge or miracles or even an experience with God. What we know is good and informs our faith. It helps us keep our understanding of Who Jesus/God is cleaner, more pure. But the thing that keeps us in the faith, that keeps most people at St. John's coming to St. John's and returning to Jesus in the midst of crises is their relationship with someone here. Same with kids. In Smith's book, Soul Searching, it becomes abundantly clear to him and the reader, that to persevere in the faith, it takes Christ-centric friends. Doesn't mean going to Bible studies all the time with them but just having them around.
Want your child in heaven with you? Make sure their social life is heavily engaged with other Christians their age. Their main peer group really must be a Christ-centric group. Ohhh and adults.... Ditto.