Discipleship of Children

Parents as primary disciplers

by Mark Entzminger/ April 15, 2016

I’m fearful that we are setting children’s ministry leaders up for frustration as it pertains to the future of family ministry. The truth of the matter is that the best family ministry strategy beings with the adults in the home growing personally in Christ and modeling healthy marriage and family relationships to the best of their ability.

But this creates a significant challenge for children’s pastors. They often do not have the platform to invest in the spiritual growth of the parents and guardians. That is left to other individuals in the church who may or may not be able to communicate the message that is so critical for parents to hear.

So whether or not a children’s ministry leader leads a Spiritual Parenting small group or not, there are some key messages that everyone on the church staff should utilize to shape the content they deliver to parents.

  1. Discipleship begins in the home. A church may appear to be specialized in creating disciples, but the environment of the home impacts the spiritual growth of a child far more than the church ever will.
  2. Parents are modeling behavior whether or not they are intentional. Children learn what acceptable behaviors are by watching and mirroring what is done around them. Kids pick up on the godly habits and attitudes of parents, often without much verbal instruction. This makes Christian living all the more important. Our goal in church is to disciple adults who live according to God’s plan so that our children, and others, will see God in us.
  3. Any believing home can become a spiritual fountain. Parents often feel unequipped to be spiritual parents. However, if they have accepted salvation they are qualified. They just simply need to spend personal time in the Word and in prayer. That will lead them into taking baby steps in the right direction of discipling their children. As parents personally grow spiritually, they will find spiritual conversations with their children come much more naturally.

There is so much to be explored as it pertains to helping parents become spiritual parents… However, a key piece to assist in this is by having every church leader understand the same foundational principles above. As church leaders we can often communicate the keys above publicly, privately, verbal, and in written form.

This then has the chance of creating a shift in culture where parents not only understand their role as spiritual parents, but also desire the role and make it a reality.