I saw an article on Facebook recently that caught my attention. It was titled “After 12 Years of Quarterly Church Attendance, Parents Shocked by Daughter’s Lack Of Faith”. At first I laughed as I read through the satire but after a few moments the truth behind the joke started to settle in and I wasn’t laughing as much.
Over my almost 20 years in full time ministry I can’t tell you how many times I had a parent come to me asking for us to “fix” their student.
“I need you to make them see Jesus/God is real” is a sentence I heard multiple times. And of course I’m willing to help them but that was not what was being asked. As the student pastor it was my job to make their student the Christian they were supposed to be.
But how was I, or any student ministry leader, to make that kind of impact with only one to two hours a week? How are we going to change the tide in a student’s life after 15, 16, or 17 years of parenting that didn’t show Christ as that important?
The answer is I couldn’t.
As a family pastor and dad of a teenager and an elementary schooler I want to encourage you! I want to spend the next few weeks talking through some things I’ve seen, read and learned along the way. My prayer is that it helps you parent with the end in mind!
It is our responsibility to spiritually parent.
Parents…it’s your job to spiritually parent your child. The role the church should play is one of equipping and partnering with you to do that. But don’t get those confused. The church should never be the learning source of faith for your child.
The good news is YOU CAN DO IT! It’s not nearly as scary as you think. Moses outlined it for us thousands of years ago in a book of the Bible called Deuteronomy in chapter 6.
4 “Listen, Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. 7 Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
See? That doesn’t sound so hard does it?
The key is being consistent and intentional (which we will dive into in another post). You can do this and we will be here to help you do it!
It is never too late to start.
You might be thinking that this is all well and good if my child was 3 but he/she’s not they’re 13! And they have a mind of their own and their own opinions and ideas! It’s not going to be that easy.
And you’d be correct. It won’t be easy but it is worth it.
Nothing is more impactful in your child’s life than seeing you changed by the Holy Spirit. Allow your older child/ren to see you struggle in faith, to see God move in your life. Let them in (in an age appropriate way) so that they can see what real faith looks like.
If your child/ren is/are younger then implement immediate changes. Start praying with them regularly. Start reading scripture with them and letting them choose favorite stories. Talk about them like you would any other story. Listen to praise music in the car. Use the parent cue app (if you don’t have it stop reading this and download it. Seriously. Go now) to help spur ideas.
Regardless of where your kids are in life start now.
Get plugged in…TODAY.
Don’t wait to start getting plugged in. The longer you wait the harder it will be. And that’s just truth.
Start making Sunday’s a priority in your family. And yes it will be a pain…at first. But we have an awesome gathering! The kids will have fun. The teens will be engaged. It’s not something you have to drag them to. And if you’re going someplace that you are having to drag your kids to then maybe it’s not a place worth being dragged to.
Even the most awesome of churches still have families whose kids don’t want to come every time. And that’s ok. Sometimes it may be a struggle and other times it won’t. Talk to your kids. Explain to them the why behind it. Help them see their role in the mission of God’s kingdom and how the local church plays a part of that. Help them to see their part in the gospel story.
Just don’t wait any longer. Get started today. It doesn’t matter how small you start. What matters is that you do start!
In the coming weeks we will be expanding on these ideas and others! Our hope is that we can be a source of encouragement to all of our families. And if you have questions or certain topics you’d like to see discussed just email firstname.lastname@example.org.