Alright, strap on your flippers and make sure your oxygen tank and scuba mask are secure… we’re about to do a deep dive. Mind you, this is really just scuba training, but it’s scuba nonetheless.
Today we’re talking about the first key of “4 Keys to Keeping Your Children Engaged in Church”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about or need a refresher, go HERE for last week’s Overview of the 4 Keys. If you need background understanding about why I’m writing about this right now, go HERE for my introduction to the topic.
Like I said last week, most of what I write about in my devotional blogs is
Key #1: Intentional Spiritual Training at Home.
This topic is why I started the blog in the first place. It’s the most important spiritual training for our children.
Many Christian parents abdicate their role as primary evangelist and disciple-maker for their children. They think (and sometimes say) “that’s what we pay the Children’s Pastor/Youth Pastor for”. They give to the church so the church will handle their children’s spiritual education. There’s no time to mince words, friends, that’s disobedience to God. It’s not just laziness. It’s actually making a decision to intentionally rebel against God’s Word. Too Harsh? Nope…
5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:5-9
You can look and look in Scripture to find the role of youth pastor or children’s pastor in the Bible and you won’t find it. Honestly, I shouldn’t have a church job in either of these roles because parents should be discipling their kids at home. Children’s Ministry and Youth Ministry should exist to train children of non-believers as the front lines of evangelism, but that’s not what really happens. What really happens is that parents often put money in the plate after dropping their kids off for someone else to teach them about Jesus. They rarely talk about Jesus or their faith at home and then they’re mad at church leadership when their children don’t darken the door of the church again when they start college (until they have their own kids…).
Now, what about the 4th key, then? Why is “Age/Stage Group Participation” even a key to keeping our children engaged in church? It’s a good question with a long answer you’ll get in a few weeks. For now, I’ll say age-specific spiritual training is super valuable, but mostly because most children aren’t being trained in the home.
Before you stop reading and go up for air…
Obviously, I’m not talking about your family. I know this because you’re reading through this devotional. You care enough about your children’s spiritual health to want to know how to keep them engaged in the church. I applaud you and am so grateful on behalf of your children (and anyone they’ll lead to Christ in their lifetimes)!
What IS Intentional Spiritual Training?
Determining that training your children spiritually to know the truth in the Bible and how to live according to God’s Word is Intentional Spiritual Training. It’s not abdicating your trainer role. It’s not waiting for your children to show an interest in spiritual things and ask you questions. It’s giving the answers before they have to ask you the questions.
Because sometimes when we don’t talk about spiritual things with our children, they think we don’t know and will seek answers somewhere else. If we’re not talking about it with them, they’ll assume it’s not important to us, because we speak to them about things that are important to us that they should learn.
Do you talk to your children about school? Then it’s important to you and should be to them.
Do you talk to your children about their relationships? Then it’s important to you and should be to them.
Do you talk to your children about their physical safety and well-being? Then it’s important to you and should be to them.
Do you talk to your children about their faith? Then it’s important to you and should be to them.
In my next devotional post, I’ll answer the question:
What does Intentional Spiritual Training at Home include?
To be continued next time… Until then start (or continue) having spiritual conversations with your children!
We will not hide these truths from our children;
we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord,
about his power and his mighty wonders. Psalm 78:4
Things to Ponder
- Was this devotional a review for you or new information?
- What does it mean to you that you’re your children’s primary evangelist and disciple-maker?