by Lon Flippo/ January 26, 2017
Suspended in space, dangling like a floating network of invisible cables, children are born connected to their parents. First breaths demand nourishment, shelter, and clothing. Rocketing to adulthood, the wires waver from physical and intellectual to emotional and financial, each demanding an exacting payment.
The task of Christian parents is to carefully unplug the network of invisible wires connecting them to parents and reconnect them to God.
Christian parents and pastors alike would be wise to not neglect the importance of spiritual training. This might happen to our kids when they move out and get their own place, go to college, or get married. Somewhere along the journey they must unplug from parents and start the process of connecting to GOD. That’s really what spiritual parenting is all about.
Teach children to become independently dependent on Jesus Christ.
What does spiritual parenting look like? Kids can only hitchhike off their parents’ or guardian’s values for so long. Ultimately they must take ownership of their OWN values and beliefs. The question begs to be answered: How can children’s pastors and ministers resource parents?
Part of teaching children to obey Christ is showing them how to take their worries, fears, and emotions to the Lord. Every parent will have those precious “teachable moments” when they direct a child’s fears and emotions to the Lord. It may come in the middle of a late-night thunderstorm when they crawl into your bed afraid of the dark or when a parent prepares to leave on a business trip and a child expresses concern over a safe return. It might be when they hear Mom and Dad arguing—they seek reassurance that Mommy and Daddy still love each other even when they fight.
God gives parents daily opportunities to spiritually teach and train children the secrets of faith. Whether learning about fear or God’s will for our individual lives, the goal for kids internalizes one big idea: Even if parents can’t relieve fears, God can and will.
Spiritual parenting teaches children to become less and less dependent on parents and more and more dependent on Christ. Every parent wants to be a good spiritual leader in the home, but most don’t have the tools. Here’s a few ways leaders can encourage parents with the spiritual training of their children:
It is essential for families and churches to partner together to raise the next generation of Christ-followers. John Westerhoff posed this question in his book: “Will Our Children Have Faith?” His answer might surprise you. “No, not if we stay wedded to child-centered catechesis that sideline mothers and fathers.”The Church must not bypass parents but instead teach them to pass their faith and rightfully take their role as spiritual leaders of their homes.