Christian Smith 1

I have found Researcher Dr. Christian Smith to be a huge help to me in my various roles as a dad, a grandfather, and trainer of youth workers and parents. Smith, who teaches sociology at the University of Notre Dame, has spent over two decades studying the religious and spiritual lives of adolescents. His recent book, Handing Down the Faith: How Parents Pass Their Religion On To The Next Generation, looks at how religious American parents pass their faith on to their children. Smith says that the good news is that among all possible influences, parents exert far and away the greatest influence on their children’s religious outcomes. Smith says that the empirical evidence is clear. In almost every case, no other institution or program comes close to shaping faith as parents do – not congregations, not youth groups, not youth pastors, not Christian schools, not missions projects, and not Christian camps. All this week we’ll be looking at what Christian parents can learn from Smith’s research.