Right now I am reading a book on parenting called Romancing Your Child’s Heart (Swan, M.), don’t worry, I’m not thinking about being a parent any time soon! It’s actually for my Family and Youth Ministry class. Something in it struck me concerning the way we might be treating our children, not only the parents but people like me who, to a considerable extent, have an influence on children in our churches today.
The book talks about living out the story God writes for us, and God sure is a good story teller. In the Bible we have the best action stories, dramas, suspense, and above all the all time best-selling love story of the cross. Today we are still living that story out to the world around us, or at least we should be. Stories aren’t lived in the past or in the future, but in the present and the now. The problem is that “our human nature is distracted by the hustle and bustle, the responsibilities, and the self-imposed goals that fill our lives, so that often we become too occupied with what has happened or may happen to focus on what is actually happening” (p. 48). The repercussions with that is that we as adults (parents and young adults) don’t spend time living out the love story of the cross in the present, we don’t serve others enough, we don’t read our Bibles enough, we don’t reach out to those around us enough. Our children are watching us as supreme models to what they should be like when they grow up, and if we aren’t taking the time to live the love story of the cross in the present by serving, reading, teaching, etc. our children will have no motivation to do so as well. Living in the now and inviting our children to come with us will give them the best Christian formation you can imagine.
No youth minister, preacher, evangelist, elder, etc. will ever have the same power to influence your children as you do. If you care at all about your child don’t trust their spiritual formation to hands of us youth ministers (no offence youth ministers, even because I am one), you and only you will be able to make the largest impact for the long-haul on your child’s faith. When your child sees you reading your Bible, serving and reaching out to your neighbors, being truthful, they will want to be just like mommy and daddy.
For more information read Romancing Your Child's Heart, by Monte Swan.