There’s a pandemic spreading. No shot or vaccination can fix it. It’s the most terrible thing I’ve seen in over ten years of ministering to teenagers. It’s disgusting. The symptoms start with kid’s that have a complacent attitude about anything to do with God. Their knowledge and understanding of God is shallow and meaningless. God is nothing more to them than “the man upstairs.” Then they become more committed to the things of this world. Baseball practice, their boyfriend, getting good grades to make it to college, ranking well in that tournament coming up, video games, whatever. Nothing is lower on the priority list than the walk with Christ. “Following Jesus” is just a phrase they utter, a tagline, or a buzz phrase. It’s another social club to fit in to. As if these symptoms weren’t bad enough, it finally ends in the death of any commitment to the things of God at all. This may sound like fear mongering. I can hear you already “Not my kids. They LOVE God, seriously, they like REALLY LOVE youth group and church and Sunday school, and everything there is to do with God.”
The cause of this pandemic can be found in the last sentence of the preceding paragraph. Why do we as parents separate ourselves from the responsibility of our children’s spirituality? God lays that responsibility directly on the shoulders of parents yet we want to delegate it to our church leadership. It’s as if a walk with God is baseball and youth group is practice and the youth pastor is the coach. We send our kids to church and let them handle the “God stuff.” Then we feel good because they said youth group was “pretty cool,” and the youth Pastor is funny. If I had a nickle for every time a parent has said “My son/daughter thinks you’re the coolest.” First of all, I’m not that cool. Second of all, I admit that amount of nickles wouldn’t buy a Starbucks frappuccino, but that’s not the point. As much as my ego loves hearing that I’m cool, I often wonder if I’m doing something wrong. I don’t want kids to like ME I want them to fall in love with JESUS. My point is that these parents see their child’s love of the youth pastor or children’s pastor and think all is well spiritually when in reality that is no bearing at all.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is God’s direct command to parents to take responsibility for their child’s spirituality. Everything we do every day is supposed to be centered around showing those around us, our kids included, what it looks like to serve God. We pour our coffee like someone who serves God, we thank the grocery store cashier like someone who serves God, we respond to bad drivers in traffic…oh sorry. Too soon? You get my point. When we stand and when we sit, when we come and when we go. There is a God ordained calling to be the loudest and most influential person in our kids’ walk with God.
The scary thing is that this principle plays itself out whether we’re conscious of it or not. The way we serve or don’t serve God effects our children more than we probably will ever fully know. When the same hands that are up in worship on Sunday morning are used to flip off the guy who cut us off on the way to church we’re sending a message to our kid’s. “Hey son/daughter, this is what a walk with God looks like. This is how you serve Jesus.” God didn’t leave room for us to delegate the responsibility for our kid’s spirituality. It belongs to us whether we want it or not. Maybe we’ve been discouraged by the culture, maybe we’ve been deceived by the enemy, maybe we’re just ignorant and didn’t know. Whatever the reason for us skirting our responsibility, it has to stop.
The second key to raising Godly kids is understanding that the responsibility for a child’s spirituality lies with the parents and nobody else.What about the church? What’s their role? We’ll discuss that on Monday in the third part of Three Keys to Raising Godly Kids.
Author: Michael Prince
Michael Prince co-authored “What’s in Your Pocket? A parent’s guide to protecting your children online.” with his wife Melinda. They have four kids and live in an RV anywhere in the USA they see the need for an internet safety expert. Michael is leading the conversation in the American Church about family online security. He and Melinda founded BecauseFamily, a ministry that exists to inspire and equip parents to be the first influence in the lives of their children, in 2013. Michael is also a geek and loves Star Wars, Doctor Who, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and strategy board games.