Back in 2012 I wrote an article for Kidzmatter Magazine entitled “Wanting the Best for Your Children.” In that article I gave seven steps to pass on to
parents about how to desire God’s best for the inhabitants of their homes. I wrote that, “It’s amazing to me that parents want better for their children than they’ve had in every area of LIFE but one.” We want them to have more opportunities financially, educationally, and socially. We want them to have a better marriage, drive a better car, wear nicer clothes, live in a better house, and the list could go on forever. But when it comes to spiritual things we don’t want them to go overboard.
We’re happy if they turn out just as spiritual as us, as long as they’re not
“bad.” Very few parents have a vision of their children as spiritual dynamos!
It’s not the same priority and desire we have for them in other areas. How do we change this?
Start speaking it.
At my church we speak this from the platform. We talk about it in our child dedication classes. We mention it in premarital counseling. I believe if you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time. Start letting the parents of your church know that this is goal one.
Emphasize for parents to take back the time God has given them as a parent.
Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” It’s our job to help parents reclaim the time they have with their children. This calls for consistent, intentional actions. I have every parent and grandparent download the Legacy Countdown app from Orange to visualize how much time they have left with their children before high school graduation. Believe me, the time you have with your kids will fly by. Watch out for mixed signals and too many voices in your home. Use the morning, before bedtime, when you’re at home, and when you go somewhere, to talk about the Lord and His Word.
A great way to take back the time with our families is to establish some no device zones and times. This teaches kids how to communicate with others within the home, as well as shows that your family time is a priority. A great tool to help with this is Circle (meetcircle.com). Consider the dinner table, kids’ bedrooms, and family times as no device zones.
Make it a matter of prayer.
Things happen when God’s people pray. This may sound crazy, but I think there’s a lack of emphasis on praying for our families in church. I’ve been coaching children’s and NextGen pastors for a number of years. One of the questions I always ask the people I coach is this: “Are you happy with your prayer life?” Do you know that 100% of the leaders I coach say they’re not? If leaders aren’t happy with their prayer life, then why would you think normal church members would make it a priority in theirs? Why not take one day a week church-wide to emphasize prayer for the families and kids of your church to become spiritual dynamos? What if a couple of months a year we fasted TV or media devices once a week or fasted a meal? Start every meeting you conduct within the children’s department with prayer for parents and kids? Things happen when we pray. We also look for special occasions within the church life when we can pray for kids and bless them—during child dedications, back to school, before big events, VBS, camps, and mission trips.
Encourage parents to establish special family times each week.
Parents should use their family time to talk about the Lord and to help their kids remember what He has done and what He is doing in their family. Did you know the very first holiday, Passover, was created so parents would remember what the Lord did for them and then teach it to their children? In fact, this was the purpose of every feast day and holiday in the Bible.
Do a devotional weekly or during mealtime. Have a family night where once a week you celebrate your family. Establish a set time to do this each week. It could be on the way to school or when you pick up your kids from school. I’ve started a habit with my grandson, Sparrow, that every time he comes over to my house he and I pray. I want him to know that I want him to be the man God wants him to be more than just my favorite little man on the planet. I think it’s amazing when a family church allows for family time. What if just one week a month we canceled all programing and gave parents a plan to have a family week?
Be the example and model it for your families.
Recently, I asked a group of Infusers I coach if they do with their families what they give out to parents to do with their families. Most of them didn’t. They didn’t use their own take-home papers or apps! Listen leader, I think family ministry starts at home—your home. Model what you want others to do. My family is my greatest sermon.
My book, Connect With Your Kids, gives you 12 steps to make your family relationships strong. I also talk about what I’m doing with my family. I talk about what my kids and grandkids said during our family time that can be a blessing to other families. I just realized after spending a week with my grandson that his “normal” of living for the Lord is not every child’s normal. His parents, as well as his grandparents, have a higher expectation for him and he’s living up to that expectation. I just don’t think it’s too much to expect your kids to be doers of the Word. I don’t think it’s too much to ask them to take every thought captive and to make it obedient. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that your child love the Lord their God with all their heart and all their soul and all their mind. I also don’t think it’s too much to ask that as Christian parents we live differently than non-Christian parents and model for our children a new normal—a normal where our desire is that our kids will be whomever Jesus has called them to be and doers of His plan for them.