Equipping Kids to Stand Strong in Today's Culture - Kids in Ministry International
Somewhere in the last few years, parents, grandparents, and church leaders have awakened to a new reality; we see more clearly than ever before that our children, as well as all of us, are under unprecedented spiritual attacks. Not just Christians are discovering this either. But the world in general is seeing cultures decidedly shift further and further to the left with marked signs of the anti-Christ system in full display. The world isn’t even trying to hide it anymore. Yes, the anti-Christ spirit was even evident all the way back to the New Testament; but it’s more glaringly aggressive than ever before as we recognize the End Times are fully upon us.
It used to be that as Christians, we could basically shelter in place, stick to our own little groups, and insulate ourselves and our families against the onslaughts that are hostile to our beliefs and the way we choose to raise our children. The home was the most sacred place next to the church.
An Invasion into Our Homes
But the anti-god world has not only come to our doorsteps, it has invaded our homes, through schools, educational systems, government, social media, as well as our churches in hundreds of different ways. And the prize is our children. As soon as we garrison our families in one area, lo and behold, out of the blue, another attack appears in a different area and in the process, they are wearing out the saints who are fighting battles on many fronts.
And he shall speak great words against the most High and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. Daniel 7:25
As a children’s minister for over 30 years, I have been keenly aware of what’s been happening, as there is consistent research that comes out regularly for families and Christian leaders. I have attempted to do everything possible as a leader in the church to equip and prepare our children to walk out their faith with power and authority. But, as I will explain in the following chapters, our influence and impact is limited if there is not a corresponding effort by the parents in the home. We can only do so much in a couple of hours a week to make a lasting impact.
As most children’s pastors will lament, there are only a small fraction of Christian parents who are really making a consistent effort to take the reins of discipleship of their children in the home. It seems most parents still leave it up to the church to disciple their children and teens. The fact that you are holding such a book in your hands tells me you are very likely one of those committed parents who deeply cares about the lasting faith of your children.
Christian Faith Does Not Influence Parenting
In recent polling a survey published in a book called Nothing Less: Engaging Kids in a Lifetime of Faith by Lifeway Christian Resources, only 29% of born-again Christians stated that their personal faith plays the most significant role in their approach to parenting. “It seems many adult believers make a distinction between their relationship with God and their relationship with their children. The two are not naturally connected in the minds of these Christians. There may be crossover moments, where personal faith in Christ shines through their interactions with kids, but it does not regularly influence their parenting.” 1
To me this has frightening implications for future generations. One’s faith in the Lord and the commitment as parents has to be interdependent. Further, the Lifeway research showed that the church and the Bible rank low on the list of where American’s look for parenting advice. While 77% of parents surveyed identify themselves as Christians, only 14% are familiar with what the Bible says about parenting.
Most parents—churchgoers included—judge their success as parents in terms of their children’s values, happiness, success, goodness, education, and self-sustaining maturity. In other words, most parents define good parenting through the imperfect and unstable lens of good works and of the world. Few parents (9%) include their kids’ godliness or faith in their definition of successful parenting. Our goal should be to raise great adults who love God and cherish God’s Word. But how do we do that? That is what this book is all about.
I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me…
Although my experience has been primarily in the realm of ministry to kids and children’s ministers, I found that when parents attended my kids’ ministry training events as a result of their involvement in the kids’ departments of their churches, they would say, “I wish someone would have told me these things when my children were small.” It became evident very early in my ministry career that parents, in many cases, lacked understanding of what child discipleship even meant, much less how to do it at church or at home. So, for years I have been teaching parents much of what I share in my new book title A Parent’s Guide to Raising Spiritual Champions. You can find it by clicking here: https://buff.ly/3XuqThw
Really, the overlap of what kids’ ministers need to know about the spiritual needs and growth of children and what parents need to know to raise spiritual champions is almost identical. This book is a result of those years of interactions with both parents and kids’ ministers. I pray that you will receive lasting revelation that leads to profound adult children who follow hard after God their whole lives. I also pray for your success in Raising Spiritual Champions in your home.
Rarely Are Parents Trained to Disciple their Children
Have you ever noticed that almost never do pastors or church leaders educate parents on how to raise godly kids? Think about it. Be honest. Maybe once in awhile they mention kids in a sermon, and the importance of family. But it is so rare that our churches actually go in depth to educate and train parents how to raise godly kids. Every new parent has to figure it out for themselves.
If you were raised in a Christian home where you had parents who went above and beyond the norm to disciple you consistently, then you had some good examples that hopefully you can copy. But what about Christians who did not have that training in the home, and what about new converts? They have no example at all! How are they supposed to know what to do? As a result they just follow the culture.
But most Christian parents do nothing with their kids in a spiritual context but pray over meals, read their kids a few Bible stories, and take them to church when they don’t have anything else to do (the new reality is about 1.5 times a month).
This is frightening! It’s no wonder 70% of our church kids are not standing firm in their faith in Christ! It’s time to change that! It’s time churches and church leaders start being more proactive in equipping parents to know what it takes to raise spiritual champions who will live their entire lives as dedicated followers of Christ in this troubled world. Most Christian parents just simply follow what the culture says they should do.
That’s Where My book Comes in!
This book is a comprehensive look at biblical parenting, including how the Jewish culture trained their children for 1600 years to keep a pure line through which the Messiah could be born by passing their faith along to each succeeding generation. What was their secret? It spells out what types of things parents need to be aware of that their kids should be taught spiritually that are commonly overlooked or ignored. We can’t assume they are getting spiritual training in their children’s church. We can no longer leave things to chance!!!
CONSIDER GIVING THESE BOOKS AS GIFTS TO EVERY PARENT FOR BABY OR CHILD DEDICATIONS! Make it an automatic gift for every baby or child dedication in your church going forward! If you are unfamiliar with baby dedications, check out more information here: https://bible.org/article/baby-dedication.
Better yet, consider giving every set of parents in your church as copy of the book this Christmas! Imagine what a difference it can make in the children and youth that are raised in your churches! Buy a copy for every family in your church! Even more, consider holding parenting classes and go through the book together as a group! What great conversations you can have helping parents at all stages of parenting!
But regardless it is imperative that we as the body of Christ begin to take the discipleship of our children more seriously in today’s world.