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Church and home aren't the only places that help frame a child's faith formation. In many communities across the country, Christian student groups and after-school clubs also are factors that shape the growing faith of middle- and high-school students.
Some parents applaud these groups — such as Young Life, WyldLife, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and others — as welcomed additions to their children's spiritual and social lives. These organizations can spark friendships, rekindle a youth's fledging interest in faith and provide a wider, more ecumenical view of Christian life.
But other moms or dads aren't as convinced. "Parents sometimes get concerned when their kids take an active interest in these groups because they don't really know what they're all about and what happens at their gatherings," said Ed Kay, who leads youth and family initiatives as an assistant to the bishop of the Delaware-Maryland Synod, which includes about 180 congregations and worshiping communities. "They're not so sure what their kids are going to learn and come home talking about."
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