I really struggled with the title of this post. I originally thought of using “Methods of Christian Parenting,” but I began to wonder if that might give you the illusion that parenting is like those “if then” statements found in math (if I do everything on this list, then I will get the results I want). This is simply not the case. Rather, these are some typical activities for a Christian family. Some do all, some do few. If you find yourself feeling guilty or weighed down as you read this, please don’t leave this page until you have read to the bottom of the article. You will be glad you did.
Previously, we addressed the goals of Christian parenting. In this post, we will address those specific activities that Christian families can engage in with the purpose of instilling a love for the Lord in their children.
1) Take them to church. It is so important for both children and parents to be in fellowship with other believers. Finding a church in which you can worship and study as a family, without being fragmented into different age-oriented brackets, is a great place for a new family in the Lord to start. If your children don’t want to go to church, simply tell them “this is what we do in our family.” You may worry that your children won’t get anything out of it if you force them. It’s true. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. However, in my opinion, a horse at the edge of the water has a greater possibility of getting wet than one that is far off.
2) Bible memorization. Some people have a hard time memorizing Scripture. You can start small and basic. Memorizing passages or verses together is a way that you can hold each other accountable. Keep index cards tucked into the napkin holder on your kitchen table and review your weekly verses during dinner time. You can find 10 easy verses for children to memorize, at Ministry-to-Children’s website.
3) Family Prayer time. Praying together as a family and keeping a family prayer journal is a great way for all members to see the personal and powerful hand of God. Praying in a round-robin style is great for those just starting out. In round-robin prayers, one person starts off the topic by praying one brief sentence. Each member then adds a brief sentence about what is on their heart regarding that topic.
4) Daily devotions. Whether you are doing them together as a family, just with your kids or individually, devotions can be a fun, rather than a dreaded part of your family’s day. Read here for my tips on family devotions. This updated classic by Jahsmann and Simon is our current favorite:
5) Claim the mundane. This is more than just a fun catch-phrase. It is the backbone of a Christian parent’s daily activities. If we are in pursuit of a deep and meaningful relationship with the Lord, we can take basic, everyday events and recognize God’s presence with our kids. We can’t simply use God’s word as a “tool” in parenting to increase compliance. His word is alive and relevant to everyday life. We don’t need to force these kinds of “God-moments” into our day. Our entire day is His. We simply need to recognize His presence and open our eyes to what He is already doing. For example, while talking about how scientists are still discovering what is at the bottom of the sea you can say, “God knows exactly what is down there!”
My prayer is that this post has not left you feeling weighed down with the burden of a to-do list. That would be legalism. God wants your heart, not a completed checklist. The best gift you can give your children is to model a genuine and authentic love for God. If they see you going through the motions of being a “good Christian,” chances are that is what they will do as well. Share with your kids what God is doing in your life. Let them know that you are a work in progress and that most of all what you seek is a relationship with Him, not a religion. If we seek to make Christ the center of our lives, He will be at the center of all these activities as well.
[photo credit: alexander41 from morguefile.com]