When You Sit In Your House
Being a parent is simultaneously the most difficult and joyful experience in life. The eighteen year commitment of raising a child can be overwhelming to say the least. It may be helpful to begin with the end in mind. Try to imagine your child on their graduation day, or the day they move off to college, what do you want for them?
There are countless things to contemplate. But for the purpose of this article, let’s exclusively consider their spiritual health. Do you want them to know and love God? To have a vibrant relationship with Him? Where will they spend eternity? Will they love and participate in the church? Do you want them to hunger for God’s word?
Kids are impressionable and while those eighteen years may seem like an eternity, I promise you it will be gone in a flash! That is only 18 summers, 18 birthday parties, 18 times snuggled around the Christmas tree. What you teach and model shapes who they become.Your child's spiritual growth will not happen by accident. Everything they believe and who they become is a direct result of what they have learned. Regardless of how and to what extent you model your faith for them and train them up, you can be assured that the world will fight to impose its own beliefs, values, and behaviors onto your kids. This is a battle for their hearts, minds, and souls from the moment they enter this world.
I cannot encourage you strongly enough to prioritize these things, then prayerfully set forth an action plan to move toward that goal.
So often in our culture, Christian parents outsource the training and discipling of their kids to the “professionals” at church. It’s a fallacy that boils down to simple math: A child experiences approximately 105 waking hours each week, with a mere 1 to 3 hours at church. It is unrealistic to expect to solidify a child’s worldview in 1 to 3 hours a week. And while the church is a wonderful and necessary support, what occurs during the other 102 hours is what truly molds them. Parents who use this time to purposefully teach, train, and discuss spiritual matters are far more likely to see an effective result. While not a biblical promise, Proverbs 22:6 encourages us to this end “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”
This isn’t just another parental tip or suggestion. God commands parents to teach their children in the things of the Lord. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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.”
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
God chose you to shepherd, teach and train your child, and as you depend on him, he will equip you to do it! What higher calling and privilege does a parent have than to disciple their own children?
There are many other Scriptures that charge parents to educate their kids and I encourage you to read them. (Several are listed at the end of this post)
So where does the church–specifically kids ministry–fit into this equation?
Most kids and youth ministries today are fun-centered. At First Baptist Church we do make a point to sprinkle fun into our time with your kids, but “fun” is not our focus. There is a misconception that kids need to be constantly entertained in order for them to learn and want to come back. If you simply feed them sugar and candy, those empty calories make them sick and, ultimately, will never nourish or satisfy them. On the contrary, If you feed them a good, hearty meal, they will crave it. They depend on those nutrients for proper and healthy growth. We want to create an appetite for the word of God and his church that satisfies their hearts and minds and leaves them hungry for more.
The church exists to equip, encourage and support parents in their calling to disciple their kids. It is a privilege and tremendous joy to come along-side parents in this undertaking. At FBC we have carefully and deliberately designed our Kids Ministry to include:
Biblically sound, gospel-centered curriculum moving chronologically through the major events of the Bible in four years.
Introducing Biblical doctrine through catechism songs
Topical mid-week study
Curated materials in our resource center
At FBC we respect the parents’ role and value transparency, therefore, we post pictures on the private Facebook page as well as a recap so that you know what your child is learning, including suggestions for activities or questions for further discussion. These, along with take-home sheets, are designed to spark spiritual conversations at home.
As we consider what these children will be when they leave kids ministry, we want them to know our God and experience a life-changing relationship with Him. We also want to prepare them to be healthy church members to the glory of Jesus Christ!
For these reasons and more, your Kids Ministry team at FBC does not steal precious time playing on the playground or on overly-complicated, likely-to-end-up-in-the-trash crafts that do little to support your child's spiritual growth. It is why we keep our events simple, focused, and largely parent-led.
At FBC, we believe parents should take the lead on their children's spiritual development. We believe that every interaction with our children is an opportunity to lead them to God. This includes the central activity of our gathering each week: the worship service. Not only is it a blessing to the entire church but to each individual family as they worship our holy God together. In addition to establishing a life-long habit, this is a tremendous gift for parents to teach the significance of each element of worship, how to sit still, how to listen to a sermon, and demonstrate the larger picture of a vibrant and healthy multi-generational congregation.
If you do not already discuss spiritual matters with your children, I encourage you to start immediately! Begin this week: Instead of asking your child if they had a “good time” at church, ask what they learned. Ask them what it means. Ask what it reveals about God. Pray for and with them, do devotions together. This does not need to be a formal sit down classroom type session, nor you do not need to be a biblical scholar. Instead, make discipleship a part of your normal daily family rhythm…when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise.
Our church is committed to supporting, and encouraging you in the training and nurturing of your children in the Lord. Your family is loved and prayed for weekly!
For further reading:
Deuteronomy 4:9-10; 6:20-25; 11:19; 32:46
Isaiah 38:19; 59:21
Proverbs 1:8; 3:1; 22:6