Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Parents, Children, and Church.... and In That Order

As a father and grandfather, I can fully appreciate the importance of taking children into consideration when choosing a church home.  But let’s be very clear, the spiritual formation of children is the duty of parents.  You can’t outsource that.  It is the most important vocation a parent has, and no church or program can do that for you. 

Children need to hear and see Christianity modeled in the home. And the good news is, when it’s happening at home the parents are free to choose a church (based upon its Biblical content) without having to consider whether or not the kids’ ministry offers a bouncing house for Jesus.  

For the record, I want my children and grandchildren to love church.  I just want them to love Jesus more. 

Spiritual formation in children can happen without the bells and whistles, or big splash events.  In fact, sometimes those things get in the way!

Furthermore, if shopping for the best kid’s program in town is our primary motivation for choosing a church, we are modeling a consumer approach to church that may very well shape our kids more than any curriculum or program ever will.

For me personally... 
  • I want my children and grandchildren to know the Bible
  • I want them to love God with all their heart, which is the Greatest Commandment
  • I want them to understand that loving God is not shallow emotions of sentimentalism; rather, Biblical is agape, which means sacrifice, selflessness, service, and doing acts of kindness
  • I want them to know God hears their prayers and wants to make a difference in their lives
  • I want them to live their lives surrendered to the sovereignty of God
  • I want them to be changed by the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ… 
And I want them to belong to a church - not a religious machine with a consumer orientation - that teaches and practices the same simple Gospel... personal faith and devotion to God.

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