That’s a heavy question isn’t it?
What would you do if your stepchild came to you or your spouse and told you that they no longer wanted to be a Christian?
This exact question was brought to me by one of my community members. At first, I was really nervous about responding to this question as the result would have a major impact on their lives.
With a lot of prayer and research however, I was able to assist her. I want to share with you the same tips and advice I gave to her. It is my hope that they will help you if you find yourself in the same situation.
I also realize that due to the important nature of this post, I want to be a thorough and detailed as possible. So this is the first of two posts that will help you with this topic.
Meet The Needs of Your Stepchild (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
Before I begin, I want to clarify that these scriptural principles can help children of all ages but the approach that you use may differ.
These tips can and should be tailored based on your stepchild’s age, personality and how you feel the conversation is going in the moment.
You may decide to share these tips over the course of a few days or a couple of weeks. This will give them time to meditate on the information given to them.
You should also pause throughout your discussion to find out if they have any questions. If they do not, ask them questions so that you can draw them into the conversation. This is important to find out exactly what is on their heart.
Jesus himself used many different techniques when he preached to his disciples. He used illustrations, personal examples and metaphors. He lovingly taught the young children, older ones, rich and poor.
Why was Jesus so thorough in meeting the needs of everyone? As 1 Timothy 2:3-4 brings out:
3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (New International Version)
Jesus wanted all people to be saved. We want the same thing; for our stepchildren to be saved. This may mean trying the methods brought out in this post or variations of these methods.
This may also mean doing additional research or tailoring the suggested tips based on what will make your stepchild comfortable and open to discussing this important topic.
Do Not Be Afraid to Bring Backup
Depending on their age, they may feel more comfortable discussing why they no longer want to be a Christian with their biological parent present.
If this is the case, discuss with your spouse beforehand the information you will share so that you are both on the same page.
Do not take their wanting their biological parent during such a sensitive topic as slight against you. Instead, look at their willingness to discuss this with you as a victorious first step!
How To Prepare for Your Conversation with Your Stepchild (1 Peter 3:15)
Jesus gave us the best advice when it comes to preparing to share our faith with others. In 1 Peter 3:15 he urges us to,
…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, (New International Version)
As a stepparent, you know how important having a close relationship with God is. For so many, becoming a Christian has completely changed their lives for the better.
Christianity completely defines who we are: how we act, what we read, our relationships, how we treat people, the list goes on.
If can affect us so heavily that hearing that our stepchild no longer wants to worship God can make us emotional.
Before starting this conversation with your stepchild, try to put your mindset in a place of calmness and understanding. Prepare yourself and your spouse to not hear the answer you want to hear.
Even if you do not get the response you want initially, I want to let you know right now: time changes everything!
They may experience something later in life that has them searching for God again or even coming back to you to help guide them back on the right path.
However, note that they will only feel comfortable coming back to you if you speak to them with “gentleness and respect.”
How To Begin Your Conversation with Your Stepchild
Start by going out together someplace quiet and private. I would suggest packing a picnic and heading to a local park, lake or beach. You can even have a picnic under a tree in your backyard.
Reassure your stepchild that what you will discuss is simply to help them and that your conversation will remain private (or between you, your spouse and them.)
I would also suggest saying a quick prayer before you start your conversation. Who better to join your discussion about Christianity that our loving and wise heavenly father!
This prayer can be done personally before you meet with your stepchild or you can pray together. Your prayer does not need to be long and complicated, it simply needs to be short and heartfelt.
Find Out Why They No Longer Want to be a Christian
After you set the scene and the tone for your conversation, its time to begin. I would ask in a straightforward but kind way why they no longer want to join in worship with the family.
There are many reasons why young people shy away from being a Christian:
- they may be getting teased or bullied at school about being a “goody two shoes” (I’ve been there myself while I was in middle and high school!)
- they may feel that Christians do not have any fun
- they may feel that what the bible says is too strict
- they may feel being a Christian is a heavy responsibility that they are not ready for
- they may not feel that God is real to them
Regardless of their reason, we can discuss ways with them to connect with their family, friends and God.
Help Your Stepchild to Reconnect with Being a Christian (2 Timothy 3:16)
After you find out why they no longer want to be a Christian, you can ask them to give you time to think about what they’ve told you, do some additional research and reconvene.
Sometimes we all feel disconnect from God. What helped me as a teenager to draw close to him was following a personal bible study schedule.
I made it a goal to read (or they can listen to) a passage of scripture and ask themselves questions they can reflect on such as:
- What qualities of God are displayed in these verses?
- How does these verses show his love for me and mankind?
- How did God help his people in the bible?
- How can I apply this scripture in my life?
Encourage your stepchild to keep a notebook/journal that they can write down what affects and inspires them. Write down how they feel as they ready about God’s miracles, power and promises. Write down how God has helped them personally in the past.
Reflecting on these questions and what they have written will make God feel more real to them.
Put your faith and trust in the power of God’s word. As 2 Timothy 3:16 confidently declares,
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (New International Version)
As a teenager, one of the main reason other teens my age fell away from serving God was because they felt Christians are restricted and did not have fun.
Remind your stepchild that Christians also have fun. There are many wholesome activities out there that they can try.
You can consider spending a day each month with your stepchild (and maybe a friend of theirs) and bond.
You can go to the movies, get your nails done, go swimming, go for a walk together, take an art class or any other activity in your area.
Another top reason your stepchild may be having difficulties in their life is because they do not feel as if they have any friends.
You can encourage them to try making a friend in your congregation. Make sure that there is a mature chaperone present if the group of young persons is mixed.
You can also plan small gatherings by your house or in your yard where other children around their age can come over to eat snacks and play games.
Below is a great FREE tool you can use to help you focus on why you love each member of your stepfamily, even when you face challenges. This 10 Things I Love About My Stepfamily worksheet will also help you and your family draw closer together!
Take the First Steps to Helping Your Stepchild Question Their Decision to Not be a Christian
In part two of this post on, Helping Your Stepchild Who No Longer Wants to be a Christian, I will share more tips on how you can help them really consider if they are making the wisest choice.
Preparing in advance is just as important as delivering the advice from the bible that you want to share.
Finding out their reasons and listening as they explain them is also essential. This will help you explain to them in a more concise and clear way how they can reconnect with God the way they used to before they decided being a Christian wasn’t for them.
Giving them practical activities and a set period of time will help them to see for themselves the benefits of drawing closer to God.
I can’t wait for you to read the second half of how you can help your stepchild develop their spirituality!
What do you think of these tips so far? I would love to hear your opinions below as well as any other tips you want to share.