Myth #6: The church is providing my child’s spiritual education so I can focus on other things at home.
Observation: Some parents put all their “eggs” in the proverbial “church basket”. They reason that it is the church’s job to provide a spiritual education for their children.
Problem: The problem with this reasoning is manifold. First, the Scriptures are clear that “parents are to bring up their children in the nurture and instruction of the Lord”. It is the calling of parents to pass on the faith to their children. It is their primary role. Now that is not to say that the church has no role in educating children. I firmly believe that God has given gifts to the church, and that we need to expose our children to all of those gifts including the teaching gifts of others.
This past Wednesday I taught a lesson to our 5th and 6th grade LOGOS boys. We looked together at Isaiah 6. In the passage we were treated to a vision of our great God. He was seated on a throne that was high and lifted up. We talked about our world having thrones for kings and presidents, but this throne was lifted up beyond them all.
We saw that the Lord wore a robe whose train filled the temple. We explained that for kings the longer the train… the greater their supposed glory. This description of our Lord’s train reminded us that His glory is beyond the most glorious of human rulers.
We observed the seraphim that attended the Lord on the throne. They are the “burning ones” who have a glory of their own, but before the Lord whose glory fills the heavens and the earth, these angelic beings had to cover themselves, for their glory does not even compare to the glory of the Lord.
We spoke together about the words of the seraphim. They said, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory”. We noted that the angels ascribed three times that the Lord is “holy”. We learned that when someone wants to emphasize something they often say something two times, but when they want to say something is “out of this world – in another league” they might say it three times. So holy, so set apart, so uncommon, so unlike sinful humans is our God! He is indeed “holy”!
We also noted that there was a rumbling, even a trembling of the temple. So awesome, so glorious is our Lord, that His presence causes the most secure things to shake.
For most families with children the new school year has already begun. Children, equipped with a plethora of school supplies, have made their way to meet new teachers and students (unless, of course, they are schooled at home) commencing another year of studies.
At Camelback we are gearing up for the new year as well. We have been bringing new teachers and helpers into the ministry. Training sessions are planned and will be taking place over the next few weeks. We’ve evaluated curriculum and other aspects of the ministry and will be introducing some new things.
Our hearts desire is to effectively minister to children (and their parents) in line with our mission: as a “Family on a Mission for the Glory of God” we extend the love of Jesus to every child that they might find renewal in Him. We so want to surround increasing numbers of children with the love of Christ so that they might find real life in Him.
Sometimes in the busyness of life, we attend to those things that scream for our attention, but neglect other things that may be even more important than those things crying out. One of those things is our child’s spiritual education. It doesn’t tend to be one of the “urgent” things vying for our attention, but in truth it may be the most important.
As you enter the new year with your child please consider the following suggestions so that the urgent doesn’t crowd out the important.
Every year we have an opportunity to guide our family’s remembrance and celebration of the events surrounding the death and resurrection of our Lord. These events which changed the world and which continue to change the lives of millions of people deserve our focused attention.
One of the ways we can do this is to use our times of family worship to peer into these happenings surrounding the final week of our Lord. Spending a few minutes each day can contribute to your child’s understanding and appreciation of these events, and can help you as a family celebrate more fully their significance.
But some of you may be asking, “How do I do this?” What might it look like to guide my family through such a worshipful exploration.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
The above text is the classic biblical passage that lays out for parents their biblical calling. We, as parents, are first to make sure the Word of God is in our hearts. As they say, “it is impossible to impart what you do not possess”. If God’s Word is not central to who you are as a parent, it is not likely you will be able to pass it on to your child(ren). Having said that, the passage then calls us to “diligently” teach our children. That word “diligently” should encourage us not to be haphazard in our approach but rather seek to be intentional.
And how can we be intentional? Often when we think about this we may steer toward something like family devotions thinking that this is the only way to be intentional. But I love the fact that the passage encourages us not to think first about a devotional time period each day, but rather thinking of all of life as a place to be intentionally teaching our children. In fact, my observation over the years is that if we are not capturing the everyday moments for Christ, our devotional times may ring untrue to our children. So I want to encourage all parents to live out your calling in the mundane details of life. (So many of the books I read on Family Devotions never make this important point!) Then, having a time of family worship can be all the more effective.
Though parents are the primary nurturers of their children, I believe God has so designed the church to be a partner in this vital enterprise. God has showered His family with a variety of gifts which are meant to build up all the members of the church, including its children. If parents isolate their children from the church family they may be, in effect, impoverishing their children’s spiritual development. That’s why I seek to promote a partnership between the home and church.
On our Children’s Ministry website we have a page that addresses that very theme: Home and Church. Please take time to read through the brief explanation. Then look at the “Recommended Resources” link found on the Parent Resources page to find some suggestions that will help you forge a plan as to how your family might approach intentionally nurturing the faith of your children. A recent book by Jason Helopoulos, A Neglected Grace, may be of some help as you consider the more formal part of your calling (Family Devotions).
If you have some ideas or resources to share with others regarding this important topic, please use the comments section below to do so.