Don’t drop your kids off at church, bring them home to it.
On Sunday, Jeff and I tag-team preached on the issue of the family. You don’t have to browse too much on my blog to see that I’m pretty excited about my baby boy that is on the way. What I don’t say often enough is how scared I am for him to get here. I’m not scared about sleepless nights, limited freedom, uncontrollable projectile vomit, or deadly diapers. I’m scared I might not be a good dad to Obadiah. I want to do right by him and I only have one chance at raising him.
That’s part of why we went in that direction on Sunday. We truly want to equip parents to disciple their children. We have witnessed a growing phenomenon in the church – more and more parents are dropping their kids off at church but never bringing the topic of God into the home. We expect trained “professionals” to spiritually raise our kids since we are uncomfortable with the task ourselves.
I think what was so great about Sunday was the response I got from many parents. Many of our parents understand their biblical role, accept that task, but they just have no clue where to start. Hang on – help is coming!
A couple of reasons I was concerned about preaching that message:
- Misunderstanding – Often people will hear things in messages that were never intended to be communicated. By Sunday’s message, we were by no way saying we are going to cut back on children and youth ministry. They will actually improve in the coming months! But we love your kids too much to just solely rely on those methods. The programs are going to improve, but we are going to focus on our best shot at raising your kids – you!
- Regret – Some empty-nesters may feel regret because they didn’t intentionally raise their kids to love God. Here’s a word for you: just because your child has grown, does not mean that God doesn’t still want to use you in their lives. I think one of the greatest testimonies for your child to see is the dramatic difference that Christ has made and is currently making in your life. So you may not have been the best parent years ago, how much impact will it have on them when you turn your life around and start telling them how Jesus changed you?!
- Neglect – I am worried that some parents in the room were thinking, “gee, I hope so and so over there is listening.” It is so easy to see specks in others’ eyes and not notice the log in our own. Evaluate your own spiritual growth. Evaluate your home. Ask tough questions like: When was the last time I talked to my kid about my personal spiritual walk (not church, but personal)? When did I lead our family to grow together by serving in a ministry? This Christmas, did I talk to my kids or grandkids more about Jesus or Santa Clause (don’t even get me started on this one…)
- Problem-Solving Mode – If your home is not what it needs to be, don’t expect an outside source to correct the problem. Don’t rely on a minister, a program, or another person. The best help for your kids is you! Your relationship with them speaks volumes to their understanding of God and helps shape their theology. Don’t try to put a band-aid on something that needs surgery. Don’t look for the quick fix.
Please pray for us. You and I are made to worship – and we are going to do everything at North Side to help equip you to evangelize and disciple your children.
To listen to the whole message, go here.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Distinctive Discipleship. He is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. Travis graduated from North Greenville University with a B.A. in Christian Studies and earned his M.Div. and D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with his doctoral focus on family discipleship.