What is the Axis Gen Z Faith Summit ?
The Axis Gen Z Faith Summit is an incredible opportunity to hear from “over 40 of the most influential authors & Christian thought leaders to help you know your teen’s culture, develop their heart, and lead them into lifelong faith in Jesus Christ.” (genzfaith.com) The best part about the summit is that it’s free. Four pre-recorded session are released each day, and you have 72 hours to watch them before they go behind a paywall. You can also purchase an All-Access Pass if you want to be able to watch the sessions at your leisure. The summit runs through Saturday, March 3rd, so it’s not too late to sign up for a free pass and catch the remainder of the summit. I promise you will be blessed!
Here are my top 5 takeaways from the summit so far:
As I have been listening to all of the sessions, I’ve been looking for some common themes. The summit itself covers the general topics of sexuality, technology, and growing up. However, the following advice seems to permeate each session regardless of the topic:
#1 – Good parenting begins with having a strong relationship with God.
In Matthew 22, an expert in the law tests Jesus by asking Him what the greatest commandment is. Jesus replies in verses 37-38 by saying:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”
The truth is that everything that pours out of our lives, including our parenting, comes back to how well we are living out what Jesus called “the greatest commandment.” This is not about being perfect because we all fall short, but it is about consistently striving to learn more about and grow closer to our Heavenly Father so that He might teach us how to parent our children as He parents us.
#2 – We must speak to our children’s hearts.
If we pick back up where we left off in Matthew 22, we see Jesus continue His answer about the greatest commandment in verses 39-40, which state:
“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commands.”
Whether we realize it or not, our nearest neighbors are the people that live under the same roof as we do. It is so easy to apply this commandment to everyone but our own family members when in fact, it should begin with them. Effective parenting and maintaining a lasting connection has very little to do with behavior management and everything to do with making a heart connection. Our children need to know that we love them unconditionally and that though they may make decisions that disappoint us from time to time, there is nothing they could ever do that would cause us to abandon them. They need to know that our guidance and discipline come from a place of love, not of condemnation. The earlier we establish this heart connection, the better because the way we parent in the early years sets the tone and lays the foundation for the preteen and teen years.
#3 – Apologize often and forgive endlessly.
In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter and Jesus have this conversation about forgiveness:
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Parent-child relationships are difficult because we are all sinners who fall short. This means that we have to be willing to both apologize and to extend grace and forgiveness. Modeling the art of apologizing and forgiving will not only help our children become more proficient at it but will also help develop and maintain strong heart connections. This is a power that many parents leave completely untapped.
#4 – Our children must see us live out our faith.
One of my favorite quotes from the summit came from Alex Lerza, who said,
“Be the person you want your teens to be.”
One of the most surprising statistics that has been discussed in the summit so far is the fact that the latest research coming out about young people who leave the faith shows that many of them actually make the decision to abandon their faith long before they ever enter college. They simply wait until they are away from home to act on their decision. Many experts think this is happening because young people are being told that faith is important and that it should shape their decision making, yet they have parents at home living the opposite of what they are professing. Our children must not just be told how important our faith is, but they must instead see its importance lived out in our lives on a daily basis.
#5 – If you want to truly connect with your teen, you must educate yourself about the world in which they live.
Society is changing at a rapid rate, which makes it so easy to become disconnected with the younger generation, including our own children. We are all familiar with one of teens’ favorite sayings:
“You just don’t understand!”
If the truth be told, now more than ever, they are right. In his opening keynote address, David Eaton, CEO of Axis, shares 17 secrets that most parents don’t know and the 4 major shifts that are taking place in this new generation. The better we understand the challenges our children are facing, the better equipped we will be to help them navigate through their difficult teen years. Additionally, when our children see us taking time to educate ourselves about their ever changing world, it communicates the fact that we love them and think they are important enough to try to understand the world in which they live. That act of showing instead of telling goes a long way in building lasting connections. The great news is that Axis makes it easier than ever to help keep you up to speed on the latest trends in their free Culture Translator newsletter. I highly recommend signing up for this amazing resource.
The summit has been filled with lots of great information about how to set healthy boundaries with technology. However, I am opting to save those tips for next week’s post, which will also include my takeaways from the movie Kirk Cameron: CONNECT.
I also want you all to know that I DO NOT currently participate in any type of affiliate program. If I recommend a resource, it’s because I truly believe in its value. I am not sharing resource information in order to get something in return. I am sharing it because the more tools we have in our parenting tool box, the better equipped we will be to effectively parent the next generation.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy “Slow Down and Count Your Blessings.”