by Pastor George, Pastor of Student Ministries
News Flash: Parenting is hard. The more I parent my children, the more I realize I need help! Then 2020 came along and tossed in Covid-19, masks, an election, online worship services, and for us at FBC, a pastoral transition. That’s a lot of stuff for moms and dads to take in. Maybe your family is stressed out trying to make all of it work – while trying to parent your children well, whether it is the kid who hasn’t quite mastered potty-training or the moody teen.
In the midst of all these things, can I encourage you to think on a few things? What’s the goal of godly, biblical parenting? Perhaps we want our children to become academic scholars (probably my wife’s thoughts), an athletic powerhouse (my dream – if my son makes it to the NFL, that’s my retirement account!), or adults that are well-equipped to hold their own in their career choices. While those things can be important, that’s not the ultimate goal. Our goal as believing parents is to have children who set their minds on Jesus and want faith in God to be their own. This is a prayer that often is spoken in our house.
How do I accomplish such a thing? It’s no easy task. But before I go crazy trying to figure it out by myself, I’m reminded that it’s not me who changes my child’s heart. Psalm 127 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” This is God’s work that he will accomplish. Yet God still gives me responsibility in my children’s lives. So what should I prioritize?
Go all in on training your son and your daughter in the instruction of our God. Ephesians 6:4 says bring children up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” What a calling from God we have in training our children! God wants me to instruct my children so they can know God. Wow. That’s a big deal. So, parents, share the Bible so your children can know Jesus is alive and at work in your life and in theirs. Share with them your answered prayers. Share with them your praises to God. Share with them that they can find help in God’s strength when the struggles are real.
While much of this training and instruction takes place in the home, please know, FBC, we desire to partner with you in this responsibility. While many things have changed this year in our church, what hasn’t changed is our strong desire to teach and preach the Bible. In youth group, our theme this year is being On Assignment for Jesus – the idea that God has called his followers to committed service to God and to one another. In teen Sunday school, each week we discuss how teens can study, understand, and apply the Bible for themselves. Our children’s Sunday school ministry has caring teachers that are bent on teaching your children the words of God each week. Could I encourage you to highly value these moments – even when schedules are full and time is short? Be alert not to shortchange the ultimate goal over things that seem important in the moment.
Model what you teach. Mom and Dad, live out your goal for godly parenting by you yourself setting your mind on Jesus and living out your faith. Let your children see this all the time. This could be praying and reading your Bible together as a family, this could be having “Jesus moments” during the day – times where you stop and converse with your children about the things you see in creation that marvelously point to our Creator God or when you notice things in people that reflect the character of God. Let your children see that God is important to you. When they see you really care about God, they will know what you really treasure. Parents, treasure the things of God. Treasure worshipping with your church family. Our children need the things of God right now. Your daily faithfulness to model what you teach will be challenging and demanding, but the goal is so, so worth it.
While parenting is hard, recall the beautiful truth from Psalm 127: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” What a privilege we have in training our children to set their minds on Jesus and want faith in God to be their own.