How do you raise your children to be spiritual leaders? To be world changers for God? To lead their families in a God-centered way?
There are a lot of ideas out there about how to do that, and there probably is more than one answer to that question. Here are 2 thoughts from my 9 years of observing families as a student minister.
1. You learn to lead through those you admire
It’s the people we look up to and admire that usually have the biggest impact on us. And while we can’t force our kids to admire us as their parents, we can live our lives in the most admirable way possible. And that is: sold out to following Jesus.
The hard truth is that your kids will probably not want to follow Jesus because you told them to. They will want to follow Jesus because they’ve sought him out for themselves, and they will be more likely to seek Jesus out for themselves if they’ve seen influential people in their lives LIVING OUT their faith every day; following Jesus every day; humbling themselves before God every day; apologizing to their spouse because God convicted them to; making it a priority to pray with their family everyday (not because they have to, but because they legitimately rely on prayer each and every day).
Your kids WILL see the fruit of you living a life in submission to God, and you won’t even have to tell them about it. They’ll see it, and admire Jesus in you.
2. You learn to lead through experience
Don’t we always want our kids to listen to us and trust us because “we’ve been there”, and “we have vast experience with this”? But the truth is that MOST people learn through going through their own experiences first. It would be just AWESOME if our kids just did everything we told them to, but chances are that’s not going happen.
So, give your kids opportunities to lead.
*Ask them to give their advice in a tough situation.
*Let them lead a devotional for the family. And don’t stop them when they “are doing it wrong” or “have bad
*Let them pray over you. That would require you admitting to them place you’re struggling or ways you aren’t
perfect, and asking them to pray for you.
*Put them in situations where they have the opportunity to lead those who are younger than them. Leading
has this weird effect on you where it changes your perspective. Hmmm….(isn’t that what we wanted all along)
If you want to raise spiritual leaders, at some point, you’ve got to let them lead. And don’t be surprised when they fail and then WANT your opinion on how to do better next time.
May God rise up spiritual leaders in our kids and may this next generation be even better leaders than we are today. Amen.