One of my greatest joys as a children's pastor/minister has been getting parents involved in the spiritual lives of their children. As parents begin to understand their influence on their children's decisions, they begin to experience the joy of being a parent in pursuit of the Savior. But first, we have to look at some of the challenges we face. Most parents today do not make their child's spiritual life their number one priority. The majority of families would say their child's education is number one. Number two—and you may know this already—Is sports and extracurricular activities. You have seen it. They will choose soccer practice over the church in a heartbeat. Sadly, Jesus is somewhere between numbers three and thirteen. So, how do we turn the number one spiritual influence in a child’s life (parents) back to a path that will help them join their child on their spiritual journey? Here are four steps you can take:
Training: For parents to embrace God's plan and purpose for their family, they need training and to be shown how to make Christ number one at home. Through the training, they learn to prioritize their child's spiritual life as number one and are given positive steps to accomplish their God-given responsibility
Helping Families Reset the Priorities: We found that it was instrumental when we had families look at their priorities. We would pass out a survey at the beginning of our Wednesday evening program each year and have parents honestly evaluate their family’s priorities right there. How much time for school and homework, sports and activities, video games, family, and church? When they did this, it was a reality check for many.
Simplicity: To help families, we looked at the two commandments that Jesus said are the most important: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). After parents look at their priorities, many realize that they are not even close. Then we would help them understand that as believers, our number one priority should be Christ in our homes and lives. That means our child's spiritual life has to be number one if we are to be obedient to Jesus’ top two commandments.
Putting Christ First at Home: For families to be successful, they have to put God first at home. That means at the beginning of each new day, they encourage their child to spend time with the Master, and they do the same. The goal here is for their child to develop a personal daily walk with Christ. I have had families throughout the years tell me, “It is incredible to get up in the morning and find my child sitting at the table doing their daily quiet time.” It became a positive “peer pressure” on other parents to do the same.
If you would like more information on how your church can partner with parents and have a significant influence on families, click here.