What a pretty sunset," I commented. "God painted the sky," responded Katie, my five-year-old daughter. I took heart in the fact that God was situated in her imaginative landscape. Will he stay there?

My heart breaks whenever I hear Christian leaders share a prayer concern about a son or daughter who has left the faith. These hurting parents wrestle with the fact that they have not passed on to their children what they have worked hard to give to so many others.

There are no guarantees. Moving from the Old Covenant to the New meant a change in faith delivery systems. What was primarily handed down from parent to child as a birthright became less predictable: the Holy Spirit quickens whomever he wills; "the wind blows where it wishes" (John 3:8, NKJV). And yet, I cannot help seeing the quality of my child's faith as a measure of the quality of my own.

Wendy Murray Zoba knows these concerns. The mother of three teenage boys and the wife of a pastor, she worries about the unintended pressure she puts on her sons to be "good" Christians. "Everything they do I tend to evaluate against what it says about what kinds of Christians they are becoming—never mind that we, their baby boomer parents, did much worse at their ages."

And that is why she so appreciates the church's youth workers. They are the third-party adult Christians whom kids can ask the hard questions without the heaviness of parental expectations intruding. Our prolific associate editor set out, with a vested interest, to discover the health and effectiveness of our churches' youth ministries.

In writing her cover story, "The Class of '00" (which begins on p. 18), she found that many experts were ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.