One of the greatest joys in life is raising the next generation.
One of the greatest responsibilities in life is raising the next generation.
While you need a license to drive a car, there are absolutely no legal requirements to get to raise a human being as your own. You don’t need any training. A couple of days after you give birth, they kick you out of the hospital and send you home. Then, for the next 18 years you’re responsible to raise a human being to adulthood.
4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Here are five TOTALLY OBVIOUS suggestions for how to establish yourself as a spiritual leader and role model to your children. While they may be TOTALLY OBVIOUS, that doesn’t mean you’re doing them. or doing them right.
How can you help your children grow spiritually?
#1 | Join a Great Church That Your Kids Love
You aren’t meant to live life alone, and you weren’t meant to raise your kids alone. God gave us a wonderful second family known as the Church. If you’re not plugged into a great church that values families, your children are missing out on this amazing gift that God intended for all of His children.
When I say you need to be plugged into a great church, I don’t simply mean attending a service or two each week. Church was never intended to merely be something you attend. God intended something so much more. Plugging into a church means you don’t merely go to your church; it means that you are the Church.
For a church to be a great church for your family, there needs to be a place for your kids to plug in as well. If your kid or teenager hates going to church, you may need to switch churches. You may love the preaching, programs, and music but, if your kids don’t want to go to church, it’s not worth it.
Find a church where your entire family can plug in. As the parent and more mature believer, you should be able to be more flexible as to the settings in which you can worship and grow.
Here is a great book on the power of church and family joining forces:
#2 | Pray For Your Kids Daily | Pray With Your Kids Daily
As simple of an idea as it is to pray for and with your kids daily, if you’re struggling with your daily devotionals, you can easily slip out of this practice.
Praying for your kids daily is a way to focus your parenting on God, and invite Him into your family. Praying with your kids daily teaches your children that your family trusts God on a daily basis.
While almost any prayer is better than no prayer with your kids, I would encourage you to have a time of prayer which isn’t surrounding a meal. I’ve known people who were very diligent about praying before meals, but the prayers had no substance. Find a daily time when you can model holistic prayers that do more than make requests and offer thanks.
Try using the acronym ACTS:
ADORATION Praise God for who He is and what He has done
CONFESSION Confess your sins and short-comings
THANKSGIVING Thank God for His many blessings
SUPPLICATION Make your requests to God
#3 | Schedule Family Devotionals
If you want to lead your children spiritually, you need to consistently spend time with them in God’s Word. During the school year, they spend eight hours per day at school. Depending on your household, they may spend hours per day on their phone, computer, watching TV, or playing video games. They spend hours every day being influenced by countless factors.
Given the extreme amount of external influence on your children, it only seems obvious that your children need regular time with you diving into the Word.
As a youth pastor, I love it when students ask me honest questions about their faith. At the same time, I’m even more excited when I hear stories of students having spiritual and theological conversations with their parents. As much as I love being an influence in teenagers lives, I would gladly take 2nd seat to a parent.
Even as a youth pastor, I have to acknowledge that my influence pales in comparison to that of a student’s parents. You are the greatest influence on your child’s life. Leverage that influence to lead your children to love Jesus.
#4 | Prioritize Spiritual Growth and Family Over Everything
Actions speak louder than words. It doesn’t matter how often you tell your kids that God is your highest priority- your actions will speak to your actual priorities.
What are the things in your family’s life which take top priority?
- Boy Scouts
- Your social life
I’ve known far too many families whose kids miss church, small groups, or other activities because the family has an excessively busy sports schedule. I’ll pick on club sports a bit more than other things because, from my experience, it’s the worst offender. Countless leagues have Sunday morning games. One volleyball league has the audacity to have a statewide tournament Easter weekend every single year. Maybe it’s my own sinful nature but, if you miss Easter Sunday at your home church because you’re attending a Volleyball tournament for your kids, you have taught your kids a terrible lesson. Don’t let sports win.
When you establish spiritual growth as your family’s priority, you teach your kids what really matters. When you marginalize spiritual growth by always viewing church as the thing which gets sidelined, you send your kids a very confusing message.
Teach your kids what matters most by arranging your schedule around their spiritual development. Be willing to tell your child’s coach, “No,” when they make unreasonable demands.
Honestly, I get really skeptical of people who attempt to claim their children or family is too busy to get fully plugged in to church. One of my students a few years back had one of the craziest schedules I had ever seen.
- He was in marching band.
- He led worship for two different churches’ youth bands.
- He had a job where he worked around 20 hours per week.
- He was in the top 5% of his class.
- He had a girlfriend (whom he later married).
- He had an active social life.
- He was in a band.
- He spent countless hours writing and recording songs.
- He was in a small group and never missed an event.
- He helped in any way I asked.
Your children need to be a part of communities and activities which foster spiritual growth but, equally as important, they need to see you prioritize spiritual matters.
#5 | Model a Godly Life
Without question, the most important thing you can do as a parent is model a godly life. Live a life filled with so much joy, love, and generosity that they would be insane to not want what you have.
While this is incredibly obvious, it’s also incredibly difficult. Your kids see you in your highs, and lowest lows. You can fool the people at church, but you won’t fool them. But, really, even our failures give us an opportunity to love differently. Of course, you’re going to make mistakes. You’re even going to sin in the direction of your kids. Even in those moments, you can model godly living by showing them what repentance and an authentic apology looks like.
- Do you model daily devotions?
- Do you model godly character?
- Do you model grace, love, and mercy?
- Do you model generosity?
- Do you model forgiveness?
- Do you model what Biblical manhood looks like?
- Do you model what Biblical womanhood looks like?
Be the person you want them to be!
Live the life you want them to live!
Be their spiritual role model!