Parents may be responsible for teenage children following a “mutant” form of Christianity,* according to Kenda Creasy Dean, author of the book Almost Christian.

What causes mutations? Mutations are the result of an error in the duplication process.

In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus commands His disciples to make disciples. In other words, Jesus is telling us to reproduce in others the truth that has been instilled in us. If, for some reason, we deviate from absolute truth, an error will occur in duplication.

Parents have the opportunity to make disciples in their homes through the lives of their children.  Dean, however, suggests that many parents, as well as pastors, may be unknowingly passing on a self-serving strain of Christianity by instilling apathy in place of genuine passion for their faith.

Genuine passionate faith is demonstrated through actions rather than by mere words. A person demonstrates active faith by placing Christ first in his life—personally pursuing His righteousness and His will above all else. As a result, his life is continually transformed to look more like Jesus.

It’s important to note that Dean used the word apathetic when referring to the mutation. When a person becomes apathetic, he will show indifference or lack of interest in a particular subject. Sadly, because many parents associate their child’s apathy with being a teenager, they dismiss it and give little thought to its consequences. Please don’t miss this: A child who is apathetic may have the appearance of faith through regular church attendance and friendships with other churched children without ever developing a personal, passionate faith in Jesus Christ.

What can parents do to avoid developing spiritual apathy in their children?

Parents need to be living examples of genuine Christ followers to their children. According to Dean, “It doesn’t register that faith is supposed to make you live differently unless parents help their kids connect the dots.” This means that parents should consistently communicate spiritual truths to their children in addition to living it. Then, they need to link each biblical principle to what is practical and pertinent in their child’s life. In order to do this, parents will need to know the truth of God’s Word for themselves.

Are you consistently growing in genuine love and passion for Jesus Christ? Are you instilling this passion in your child? Does your lifestyle reflect Christ’s nature and His Word? Are you prepared and resolved to rid your household of the potential for a “mutant” form of Christianity?

*reported recently on CNN Living.