I’d like to challenge you. If you are a parent, stop and think for a moment about your child in 20 years. What are your hopes and dreams for them? Of course our hope is that they would be healthy, in a good career, possibly finishing their education, successful. But at the top of your list I pray you would say “Christ Follower”, “Passionate about Jesus” or “Dedicated to the Lord.” Do your kids know that this is your desire for them? Do your kids think this is a goal of the family? Maybe on Sunday, right? Do they consider your family “dedicated to the Lord?” Does your calendar or planner match up with “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”?
You see, on Sunday many of us make God a priority. We do all the right things. We go to church. Some may even attend a connection group. We may even go on Wednesday and we probably feel like we should get bonus points for that! But, do you come on Sunday out of obligation or to truly bring your family closer to God and one another? When you leave do you share stories in the car about what you learned or only talk about where you are going to lunch? Okay, maybe we first need to determine the lunch plans. Are you already formulating your task list in your head of what you need to do next before you even get out of the parking lot (grocery lists, soccer practices, homework plans, etc?)
Before you start holding up your white flag and saying Lisa, stop! You are making me feel like a bad parent, please know that we all struggle with the business of life. We all struggle with making God a priority in our home throughout the week, but I believe that we all truly do want our children to be followers of the Lord. We simply need a few reminders or suggestions on what to do. Here are a few:
1. Make attending church as a family a priority: If you have to choose between a soccer game and church, who wins? If your child says they don’t want to go, do you give in? Make it such a habit that your kids expect it each week. It’s a lot easier to get a child in a car seat now than it is to drag an unwilling teenager later. Don’t make the mistake (as many do) that you don’t really need to start worrying too much about their faith until they are in middle school. If you need more convincing, check out these statistics from the Barna Group:
“Research compiled by his Barna Group shows that children between the ages of 5 and 13 have a 32 percent probability of accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. That likelihood drops to 4 percent for teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18, and ticks back up to 6 percent for adults older than 18”
If you simply do have to miss, why not take time to have home church? There are many family devotions and resources online and this will show your kids that church is not about a building, but that spending time with God is part of your family goals. Do be careful though to not make missing a habit. God does want us to come together. (Hebrews 10:25).
2. Redirect: Anytime you can redirect your kids to God and His plan, do it! Say they are having a hard time in Math. Offer to pray with them and encourage them to simply do their best. (Colossians 3:23). They are having a fight with a friend. Ask how they think God would want them to handle it (Matthew 18)? They are trying to make a tough decision? Remind them of the promise in James 1:5 and offer to pray it for them.
3. Choose your words: How often do we ask our kids about their homework, but we don’t always encourage them to spend time (even 5 minutes) reading the Bible or completing a take home paper from class? Try to find one way each day that you can demonstrate (through example) that God is present and working in your family. Share a “blessing of the day” in the car as you drive home. Pray before a meal thanking God for His provision. Start your day off in the Word, even if it is the verse of the day on your phone! Tell them how God is growing you in your walk with Him. Ask them for forgiveness when you need it.
Each of these are just suggestions. I would love your feedback and other ideas on how you help keep God present in your home daily! Put your comments below.