What should you do when your children or grandchildren are moving away from the family's tradition of Christian beliefs?

A 2007 Barna Group study finds that only 63% of Americans ages 18 to 41 identify as Christian whereas that number is 77 percent for people ages 61 or older. The continuing shift in the trend points to perceptions that young people have toward Christianity. Although some 16 to 29 year olds surveyed saw Christianity as having good values and principles and a friendly and respected faith, negative perceptions were that Christianity is judgmental, hypocritical, and old fashioned.

So how do you communicate to your son or daughter or grandchildren that you feel the Christian faith should not be rejected? How do you overcome those negative perceptions and help them see that Christianity is relevant for your life and for their lives today? Here are four things that should be part of your faith story:

1. Record on paper who the people are who shaped your faith. Demonstrate that following Christ has been your family's heritage for hundreds (if not thousands) of years and rejecting the family's beliefs should not be taken lightly. Tell them about your parents and why the Bible was important to them. Write down on paper for your children and grandchildren the fact that their great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers were followers of the Christ too. Perhaps your family history shows that relatives migrated to America to escape persecution and gain the right to worship Christ in their own way. Give them your family's faith history.

2. Record in writing how you came to believe. Was there a memorable moment when you accepted Christ-either as a youth or as an adult? Was youth group an important part of your life as you grew up? What Christian songs or hymns were or are your favorites? How did you experience God's love as a young person? Why was Jesus someone you wanted to follow then and now? Perhaps you've shared your faith background before with your Bible study or your Sunday School class, but it's critically important to share your testimony with your own family too.

3. Write down situations where you've seen God working in your life-in good times and bad times. It's important for your family to see that your life has been profoundly different because you experienced more love, more hope, and more peace as a follower of Jesus Christ. You see the beauty of the earth as God's incredible creation, and you see them beautifully and wonderfully made too. You've had a special purpose that you've fulfilled through the years. You've had very tough times and somehow you've felt God's presence as a constant source of strength. Perhaps their lives have been impacted because you have prayed for your children and grandchildren and saw the prayers answered (sometimes in a way you didn't expect).

4. Capture wisdom and truth, from your own unique perspective. It's time to show that the Bible is truly the book of life and "The Great Story" and the Gospel, or Good News. Share your favorite scriptures and explain why you like these passages so much. Relate the Biblical story to your own story in a real way so they may realize the importance of God's word the Christian faith. The Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, and Jesus' commandment to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself are good ways to live our lives today. Make sure you make it clear that you love them and God loves them too.

Telling them about why you believe is one way to pass along your thoughts, but recording it in a lasting way on paper may be a better and more lasting approach. After all, the Bible is the very best example of a recorded legacy that explains our Jewish roots, the life of Jesus Christ, and the life of early Christians. If it had not been written down, it would have been lost or forgotten. The same is true for your own faith story.

Author's Bio: 

Beth Sanders is a technology innovator, entrepreneur, author, frequent speaker and workshop leader. She is the founder and CEO of LifeBio.com. LifeBio is the nation's leading legacy company, which helps people preserve relationships and memories that last for generations. LifeBio enables people of all ages to have a private place to share their life stories, upload pictures and create their own memory books. The LifeBio product and service line includes an online autobiography at http://www.lifebio.com, the Memory Journal, Life Story Journal, LifeBio 101 classes, the LifeBio Video Recording Kit, MemoryBio Photo Album and Journal, The Great Story and Your Story and much more. For more information, please call 1-866-LIFEBIO or 937-303-4574 or email us at info@lifebio.com.