Nothing happens by accident around our house. If the lawn has become a cow pasture, then someone must make time to mow. If the dirty clothes have become Mt. Everest, then someone must do laundry. If my son’s ball game begins at 6pm, then someone must drive him there by 5:30pm to warm up.
If your children are starving spiritually at home, then you will have to take some A.C.T.I.O.N.S. as a parent to feed them. What A.C.T.I.O.N.S. will you take? Here are some suggestions . . .
Accept: You are responsible (Take initiative and start somewhere.) The Bible is vividly clear about parental responsibility to nurture children’s faith (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalm 78:1-8; Proverbs 4:1-4, 22:6; Ephesians 6:1-4). Our family started with a morning devotion time when my oldest child began kindergarten. We’ve taken initiative and experimented with a variety of resources and times to discover what works best for our family. Start somewhere . . . Now!
Challenge: Write out your goals. (1x/week > 1x/day > 2x/day). We accomplish what we plan to accomplish. Initially, we set a goal to spend five mornings a week around the breakfast table reading a family devotion. We probably only managed 3-4 mornings each week, which fell below our goal, but it was more than we had done previously.
Time: Agree upon a time when you can be most effective in nurturing the faith of your children. Each family has a different routine and family rhythm. Examine your schedules to discover times when you are together already and make some slight adjustments in the way you spend that time together.
Inspire: Choose a resource(s) and prayerfully prepare. There are a variety of resources to help you nurture the faith of your children. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If you are just starting off, then pick a book that you can read to your children and ask some questions with little or no preparation. Choose resources that are age appropriate as you strive to nurture the faith of your children.
Overcome obstacles: Inconsistency, chaos, weekends, holidays present some challenges. There are some days, weeks and some weekends where nothing goes as planned. It’s not just your family, this happens to all families in some form or fashion. Don’t give up. Chalk it up and move on to a new week. You can help your children grow spiritually at home. You must help your children grow spiritually at home. If you don’t, then who will?
Nurture: The relationship is more important than the ritual. Focus on building relationships with your children. The relationship you build with them as you discuss the Bible and pray together will foster a lifetime of rich experiences together.
Survey: Evaluate & make improvements along the way. Take some time to evaluate what works and why or what doesn’t work and why. Involve your children in this process. Continue to make mid-course corrections through the different stages in the life of your family. What you do with your children in the preschool years will be different than what you do with your children in the teen years.
Children don’t become All-star athletes in one week. You didn’t become an expert in your job the first week. It takes times. It will take time, planning, patience, and endurance for you to lead and feed your family spiritually. Nurturing the faith of your children is more than one marathon race, it takes many years, but it is worth it when they leave the nest and soar to new heights in their own personal vibrant journey with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Here are a few sites that can give you some direction for your journey.
Ben Phillips serves on the Evangelism and Church Health Team for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and enjoys equipping parents to become the primary disciplemakers of their children.