There’s a term used in racing known as drafting. According to Wikipedia, drafting occurs when “two vehicles or other moving objects are caused to align in a close group, reducing the overall effect of drag due to exploiting the lead object’s slipstream.”1 To use a metaphor, drafting is the art of riding off of someone else’s coattails. Recently, Newspring Church used this concept to explore the idea of “spiritual drafting”:
“Some parts of our lives are like drafting. We find a comfortable spot and settle in because it’s easier to cruise behind other people than forging our own path. We’d rather follow the work of someone else leading the way instead of getting out in front of the pack ourselves.”2
Young people tend to ‘spiritually draft’ behind their parents. The beliefs and ideologies of the family are often inherited and accepted by their children. For lack of a better expression… kids take after their parents… the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Parents should take some comfort in this, however, no matter how great of a ‘lead car’ you are, eventually, the next generation will have to take the lead without you paving the way.
Jep Robertson, son of Phil Robertson, the family patriarch of Duck Dynasty, explored in a recent blog post his own version of spiritual drafting. He recounts how wonderful an example his parents were. They did all the right things. And yet, Jep explains that, “My ritual of going to church services to please my parents and keep the peace in my family hadn’t meant much because my heart hadn’t been in it. I had been far more interested in parties and girls and cuttin’ up than getting to know my Creator and Savior.”3 Jep’s example may be a bit more extreme than most, as he dealt with a drug and alcohol addiction at an early age. Nevertheless, Jep’s testimony lays out the truth that you can’t spiritually draft your whole life. At some point every young person must make the faith of their parent’s their own. That process can be painful. It can be chock-full of mistakes. Yet it’s necessary.
In a candid article on belief.net entitled, Your Faith Journey is Not Your Parents, the author bluntly asserts that, “Parents tend to get in the habit of strapping their kids into the pew seats for eighteen years and expect their teens to just arrive at a mature faith.”4 In other words, sometimes we let our children spiritually draft behind us for too long.
That’s why Base Camp matters.
Hope, a 1st time Climber last summer at Base Camp (15 years old at the time), described her Base Camp this way: “It gives you a lot of insight and they talk about a lot of topics that a lot of Christians would shy away from, or maybe wouldn’t talk about as much, but it’s important to know, and it just makes you think.” At Faith Ascent, we intend to treat every young person with dignity, and we respect them enough to challenge them by exposing them to a variety of topics relevant to Christianity in the modern world. As Newspring Church puts it, “Too often, we’ll think our faith is strong because our parents’ faith was, or because we attend church frequently with friends… Spiritual drafting — benefitting from someone else’s faith — is helpful in seasons. But at some point, we need to step up and take responsibility for our own relationship with Jesus.”2
We asked Kaylee, another 1st time Climber 15-year-old, what she would say to convince someone who was on the fence to come to Base Camp. Her reply was music to our ears: “I mean [Base Camp] definitely helps you to build your own faith rather than what you’ve been taught as kids because you can’t just go off of your parents faith, you have to build your own.”
Kaylee nailed it. She experienced the very reason that Faith Ascent exists: to empower young people to claim their faith in Jesus as their own.
We pray we can continue to empower young people to take steps that push them into the front lane and give reasons for their personal faith in Jesus of Nazareth.
1) Wikipedia – Drafting
2) Newspring Church
3) Jep Roberts