The race to claim the next generation of Christians

Written by Sara B. Anderson
Published on October 13, 2023

Have you heard the phrase, “The early bird gets the worm”? How about “Early to bed and  early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy, and wise”? Or “The first one there wins”? 

I’ve never been known for being early to anything. 

However, if we want to give our children the best chance of nurturing a saving faith, being early matters. 

Both the art and science of raising Christian kids supports the notion that the first one to reach the hearts and minds of our children can mold the trajectory of their lives.  

The “worm”—won by the early bird when it comes to training our children in the way they should go—is having the best and most direct influence on forming their perception of reality; and hence, our children’s choices.  

As Christians raising the next generation of Christians, we want our children to make the most  important choice of their lives—the choice to repent and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  

Our most privileged job is to help them do just that. As parents, if we want to give them the best chance, we set our parenting paradigm to be “the first one there.”  

This may be a harsh concept if we feel like we’ve missed the boat. Rest assured, all is not lost. This advice applies to our capacity as parents. God is not limited in what he can do. God gave us the privilege of being parents, so let’s fulfill our duty as unto the Lord. Amen?! 

The first thing we must intentionally influence for Christ is our children’s worldview, because that forms the foundation of their future choices.

A worldview is made up of a person’s values and beliefs, which ultimately manifests in their behavior (a.k.a. choices). Worldview is built like the scaffolding of a building, each stone set upon the other is an experience, lesson, exposure, language, etc. that forms their understanding of what is real and true.  

Here’s the rub: there is only a small window of opportunity to influence our children’s worldview when it is still malleable. But the worldview solidifies quickly, as young as age six.  

That’s why teaching our children God’s truth early is so important. Until one’s worldview is fully formed, our children swallow the ideas, beliefs, and values they are taught. They have not developed the discernment to sort lies from truth. Thus, every book, TV show, preprogrammed device, and school curriculum matters because it will eventually solidify into what they believe to be true. 

The question becomes, is anyone else competing with parents to influence the tender hearts and minds of our babies?  

The answer is yes. The Enemy is prowling around looking for an opportunity to kick the door open on our children’s minds, and he’s using an insidious tool to do so: digital media. 

My eldest learned about drinking songs from a “safe” learning pad with preprogrammed games after her avatar visited a tavern and got drunk. My youngest, now six, just told my husband and I that he can marry his sister (eight) because it said so in the movie Shrek.  

These are innocent examples, but it gets very serious when we do a shallow dive into the sources we sometimes naively delegate in authority over our children. We often do this without supervision or vetting. 

Digital media is designed to attract and capture our children’s minds. They are highly addictive and often do not align with the Bible. In fact, even “safe” exposure to digital media releases highly addictive dopamine from the reward-linked stimulus, equal to pulling the lever on a slot machine. The intermittent reinforcement of this dopamine hit encourages risky behavior to secure the next dopamine high.  

It’s vitally important that we train our children early. Where did I get this idea from? Well, the  Bible, of course! 

1. Proverbs 22:6: “Train up your child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  

God doesn’t instruct parents to train children when they are old, but when they are young and influenceable so when they are old, they can come back to their foundation. 

Surprisingly, this is only a principle, not a promise. Parents are not guaranteed any particular faith outcome in their children. We can only do the best we can with what we know. God can always step in and augment our efforts. That said, he wants parents to lay a foundation of truth from which he can work. 

2. Deuteronomy 6:6-9: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  

How do we mold a Christian worldview? By saturating our children in God’s Word at every  opportunity. If we saturate there’s less opportunity for ungodly influences to slip into their  consciousnesses. With a worldview formed on the Bible, they are more likely to make honorable  choices and stay on the narrow path. At this early stage, parents can make an important choice to be with their children and serve as their discernment until they can do so themselves. 

3. Matthew 18:3-4: “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  

The significance of this Scripture brings hope if we came to faith later in our children’s lives or didn’t lay the foundation early. It speaks of a deep humility that allows God’s truth to unwind what we know and to accept what he knows. He uses the noun ‘child’ to emphasize that children’s minds are malleable and easier to influence. Adults and older children can have hearts regenerated and minds reoriented to God’s truth, but it takes a childlike attitude to do so. With repentance, humility, and a lot of prayer, it can happen.  

This is hard, I know. But it needs to be said not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Parenting is one of  the most challenging jobs known to man. Thankfully, God gave us the instructions. Let’s win the race to claim the next generation of Christians.

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Sara B. Anderson

Sara B. Anderson is a wife, mother of five, ministry leader, author, speaker, attorney, and Christian apologist with her Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics. Sara uses her education and experience to empower parents to raise the next generation of faith on the firm foundation of God’s truth. She provides the necessary tools and knowledge to help mothers reach their goals by supporting four pillars of a strong biblical family: Bible Literacy, Biblical Marriage, Parental Authority, and Early Child Training. With her uniquely practical and straightforward approach, participants can begin applying their new skills after just one course session.

Sara offers Mom-2-Mom Mentoring covering on all things motherhood, especially early child training as well as Marriage Mentoring using the Prepare/Enrich Objective Assessment and Relationship Tools.

You can reach Sara at or [email protected]. You can follow Sara’s ministry at

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