by Will Graham
I’m now 41 years old. I still feel young, but I’m not as young as I once was. I’m happily married to a wonderful wife. I have three great kids; my oldest is learning how to drive. Our spare hours are consumed by homework and soccer games. Time is going by too fast.
Why do I tell you this? Because I am part of what is sometimes called Generation X.
In our ministry to younger couples (those around my age) at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C., we hear time and again that their greatest concerns are marriage and parenting.
Many of today’s forty-somethings are children of divorce, born out of the baby-boomer generation, and desperately want to hold their marriages together. Several of the people I grew up with are on their second marriages themselves. The world is pulling them different ways, yet they want to make their marriages work.
At the same time, their children are growing up in front of their eyes and society is doing its best to lead them down the wrong paths.
It seems to me that many people my age grew up with some sort of religious background. They didn’t necessarily attend church or Sunday school consistently, but they had a parent who was a Christian, a grandparent who prayed with them, or some sort of spiritual connection. This instilled in them a sense of right and wrong, a set of values.
Early in life, they may have ignored those teachings. However, as they’ve become parents and are trying to raise their children well, they’re starting to see the value of faith and they’re beginning to worry because they have an inadequate spiritual foundation to draw from for their kids.
They realize that they don’t want to see their children do some of the things they did themselves. More so, they want to protect their children from the pain and heartbreak that they experienced in their younger years as a result of their regrettable actions.
Because of the importance of their marriages and families, many of the young couples with whom I’ve interacted are open to suggestions and—for lack of a better term—coaching. As we work with them, we’re able to show them what the Bible says, and they’re often surprised to learn that the Word has the answers for all of the problems they’re facing.
Ultimately, many come to see that the only true and lasting hope is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
And, my friends, the really exciting thing for me comes after the parents find Jesus, because there follows a generational impact for years to come, passing the love and hope of Christ to their children and grandchildren over the years. Reach the young parents, and you reach the entire family.