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Next to God, There is No One More Influential in Your Kids’ Faith Life than You

June 21, 2021

PITTSBURGH TheCoalition for Christian Outreach (CCO, ccojubilee.org) wants fathers to know what a profound impact you have on your kids’ spiritual lives. In a 2014 University of Southern California study, researchers compiled nearly 40 years of research with 350 families to explore the puzzling question of why some families pass on faith from generation to generation while others do not.

Sociology professor Vern Bengtson and colleagues Norella Putney and Susan Harris found that fathers are the number one greatest influencer in their children’s faith life. Evangelical Christians who grow up with a warm, loving father to whom they are emotionally connected are 25 percent more likely to embrace the Christian faith as adults. The study also found that while a warm, loving mother is important, she makes a difference of just one percent.

Dan Dupee, former Chairman of the Board for CCO, understands the magnitude of these findings for fathers.

“So, Dads, this means that you are the single biggest difference-maker in passing a vital Christian faith from one generation to the next,” says Dupee in his op-ed published in CNSNews.

Men are known for being doers more than feelers, warriors who have to wrench a place for their families in a hostile world.  Dupee offers one caveat: “Amen to the notion of the warrior dad, but we need to be a warrior who deeply cares about his charges and is emotionally available to them.”

It’s not too late to set things right, and this evidence shows why men cannot abandon their God-given responsibility to be there for their children.

“Your wife can work to do everything to help your kids come to know the Lord Christ, but she can’t take your place,” says Dupee. “You can yourself be a shining example at your church, but if you have no ongoing bond with your kids, the whole project may very well go up in flames.”

Dupee recommends that fathers make it their highest priority in life from here on out to have a warm, open relationship with each of their children.

“There is an opportunity here, but if we are going to take advantage of it, we will need to unwind some perceptions and maybe change some of our own habits,” he continued. “Fathers are not God, but next to Him there is no one more influential in the life of your kids when it comes to following Jesus.  

“Men, you are not God, but next to Him there is no one more influential in the life of your kids when it comes to following Jesus. You have the chance to be a game-changer for your sons and daughters,” says Dupee.

“Remember that every son will ‘crawl over broken glass for his father’s approval’ and that every daughter will learn whether she is worthy and beautiful from you more than anyone else. Your kids need so desperately what only you can give them.”

For 50 years,CCO staff have reached out to college students by entering into their world. CCO staff are on the college campus every day, meeting students where they are—at athletic practices, in cafeterias, student centers, coffee shops, residence halls, and sometimes even classrooms.

But this is only part of the story. CCO alsopartners with local churches, so college students who connect to CCO ministries find themselves integrated into the life of their local church, where they worship in a multi-generational congregation, participate in Sunday school classes, and get to know church members over meals.

The college and university campus are the most strategic mission fields in the world, with only 2% of students being reached with the Gospel. CCO partners with local church congregations to help students feel a sense of belonging. A community is formed between the CCO staff and students, who are invited into the lives of local congregations. Through this community of fellowship, CCO is able to minister to the students in a life-changing way.


To interview Dan Dupee or for more information about the Coalition for Christian Outreach, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Beth Harrison, 610.584.1096, ext. 105, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.