I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I raised my kids in church…” and then go on to share that said “kids” no longer go to church, want nothing to do with God, etc. My heart goes out to these people, really it does, but sometimes I just want to shake them. In love, of course!
I realize that it could be semantics and perhaps “raising them in church” means they raised them in a Christ-centered home and they diligently taught them how to be Christ followers. However, I’ve been around long enough to know that many of them simply mean exactly that... they took them to church.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I believe in going to church. I also believe that there are many amazing people that dedicate themselves weekly to teaching children in church, however, taking your child to church is not going to ensure that they grow to love God and serve Him.
“Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”. Proverbs 22:6
I will be the first to say that I need help in shaping my son spiritually and I pastored children for 13 years! There is certainly something to be said about calling on the help of pastors and teachers but, ultimately, it is the parent's responsibility to lead a child to Christ and teach him how to live as a Christ follower.
I love the hope that we are given in Proverbs 22:6 that our children will not depart from “it” when they are old. But we cannot overlook the beginning of this verse.
Have you ever trained for something?
Often times it involves pain, sweat and tears. When you train for something it takes diligence, dedication and determination. It’s hard work!
Like any other type of training, spiritual training is no easy task and it does not happen over night... or 52 weeks a year (assuming you have perfect church attendance).
Again, I am not saying that attending church is not important or beneficial. It absolutely is (or should be) but in and of itself it is not spiritual parenting. Church attendance is only a piece to the puzzle of spiritual parenting.
If you want to raise a child that loves God with his whole heart then you must be intentional in everything you do - every single day, not just on Sunday.
My decisions for my son have to center around my spiritual goals for him. I’m not saying other things are not important; of course I want my son to thrive academically, socially, emotionally, etc., but I am far more concerned with the things that have eternal value. I am constantly thinking about how I can effectively parent my son spiritually because it is my biggest goal.
In the end, it is the one thing that truly matters.