Christians face a rising problem in faith transmission to the next generation (Kinnaman & Hawkins, 2016). Research indicates that younger generations are less religious than their parents in many countries, especially in the U.S. (Pew Research Center, 2018b). Even though most American Christians say that faith is vital in their life, educating children in religion is critical because it provides moral guidance and appropriate values (American Enterprise Institute, 2019). However, most Christians find it challenging to perceive and articulate the relationship between faith and daily life even though they attend church regularly (Bunge, 2008). Also, many parent-child spiritual programs organized by churches cannot equip parents to transmit their faith to their children (Bunge, 2008). Therefore, this qualitative phenomenological study aimed to explore Mandarin-speaking parents’ perspectives, practices, and beliefs when experiencing a Christian Spiritual Parenting Program (CSPP), particularly examining the outcome of transferring Christian faith from parents to children. This study was guided by the Practical Theology Theory, which focused on integrating Christian theology and taking action to practice spirituality. A semi-structured interview was conducted via Zoom, and six participants answered 10 interview questions. After the data coding and analysis, there were 11 critical themes revealed (Estranged Family Relationships, Self-Control Problems, Lack of Spiritual Application, Do not Know how to Raise Children in the Lord, Consistent Practice, Prayer, Group Supports, Mindset Change, Better Personality, Better Relationships, and More Church Engagement). Consequently, six conclusions yield: (a) parents have to change themselves before changing their children, (b) faith transmission is closely related to family relationships, (c) family time is significant for building positive family relationships, (d) spiritual practice can change parents from their internal to external behavior, (e) Community of Practice is essential for the CSPP’s success, and, (f) the CSPP is whole-person education which is suitable for all parents regardless of their children’s ages. Since this study was focused on Mandarin-speaking parents, people who speak other languages were excluded, which is the limitation of the study. This study recommends that the church or religious decision-makers provide spiritual training programs and offer practice opportunities for parents regarding raising children in the Lord.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Faith (Christianity); Spirituality--Christianity; Parent and child--Religious aspects--Christianity; Theology--Study and teaching; Mandarin dialects--parents

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Dawn Hendricks