Thursday, September 01, 2011

Who Will Tell Your Kids About God?

This is a subject that I've been thinking about for quite some time.  I have some mixed up ideas about it and I'm not really sure how to convey my thoughts in an orderly manner.  I've decided that I'm just going to throw it out there in whatever order it comes to mind as I write (with a little bit of editing when I'm finished) and see what happens.  I know that for some of you, this may be offensive.  It's not meant to be a judgment of your parenting styles or skills; this is just one humble man's opinion on one area of teaching our kids lessons about God and eternity.

The catalyst for my writing this post at this time was a post by a preacher friend of mine. You can go read it here. It's a pretty short read; an excerpt from a sermon preached in 1738--almost 300 years ago and still as relevant as ever.  We never really think about the possibility that we may be responsible for promoting the damnation of others--especially the damnation of our own kids.

It goes back to a question that we need to ask: If we don't teach our children about God, who will?  Will we leave it up to their friends?  Will we delegate that part of parenting to the church we attend?  Will we send them to a church that we don't attend so they can learn about God?

Most of the time--knowingly or not--we will be the ones to teach our kids nearly everything they learn about God.

Our kids will learn from our actions that Sunday sports are more important than God.  Our kids will learn from our actions that "family time" is more important than worshiping God.  Our kids will learn that God isn't a big part (or even a little part) of our lives and so it isn't important to make God a part of their lives.  Even if we send them to church--when dads don't attend with them, most of them will stop going when they are no longer forced to go.  Dad's example of staying home trumps everything that somebody else teaches them from the church where you may be sending them or where mom is taking them.

Chance are good that if Sunday morning is the extent of our "godly" lifestyle, it will be the extent of theirs.  If we fail to be bold about our faith, they will not be bold about their faith. If, as parents, we choose to ignore the call of God and wander aimlessly into hell (or perhaps march boldly into hell), our kids will willingly follow us.

If you have no strong beliefs about heaven and hell, it makes sense that you would feel fine about allowing your kids to to seek God on their own; allowing them to explore the world's religions without any input or guidance from you.

Please understand that I don't want my kids to have my faith. I want them to have their own faith.  I want them to know why they believe what they believe.  I want them to be able to understand and defend their faith. I believe it is my job to give my kids the knowledge, the Holy Spirit's job to give them the understanding, and their job to follow the call of God on their lives.

At this point, you might be thinking to yourself, "John, you said you have some mixed up ideas about it, but it seems like you're pretty certain about the matter."

Okay, so here's where my thinking might start to cause some problems.

I love my church and the programs that we have for kids.  Sunday school, children's church, AWANAs, kids' camps--are all great programs and we reach and teach lots of kids the message of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus.  BUT...

Statistics point to the reality that we will lose many of these kids if we don't reach their parents--especially their dads.

Until recently, we've offered little to our young men in the way of focused spiritual mentoring.  I'm glad that it's changing, but it is changing slowly and hasn't really become a purposeful way of discipleship and evangelism.  While I wouldn't give up our kids' programs, I do believe that having them as our primary way of changing the lives of families is a mistake.  If we fail to reach the parents of the kids of our community, we are ultimately failing the kids of our community.

Dads, it is your God given responsibility to be the spiritual leaders of your homes.  Most of the time, your kids will follow you, whether you mean for them to or not.  Where are you leading them?  Are you walking with God?  Are you promoting the salvation of your kids through Jesus? Or are you promoting their damnation?

I know that there are some of you (maybe many of you) that will say that there are more than those two options.

Go ahead.
Make your case.
But you don't have to make it to me.  Make it to the Judge.  Or should I say THE Judge?  Make your case to God that you are providing your kids with more than a great opportunity to succeed at baseball/soccer/football/hockey/competitive cheer/whatever, and that you are giving them essential knowledge and a good example of how a godly man lives and follows Jesus.

Not sure how to do that?
Call me. Send me a private message. E-mail me. Send me a comment and ask that it be kept private.  Do something to secure eternity for yourself and your family.  It is time to man up and lead your family the way that God has designed you to lead.

John <><

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Thanks for this reminder to bring more awareness to God into our daily lives...not just on Sunday mornings and bedtime.