Gospel-Centered Parenting

What a privilege to serve New Prospect Baptist Church in Inman, SC at their Gospel-Centered Parenting Event. Here are the notes for the 3 sessions on parenting with purpose.

#1. Faith of a Child

[Deut. 6:4-9] – How do you create your home to be an environment to help nurture the faith of your children? In this session, learn practical tips to evangelize and disciple your children.

The Problem

  • Prioritize placing your children in the most spiritually-nurturing environments as are available.
  • The most critical spiritual environment is the one in which you live.
  • Parents are called to be the primary evangelists and disciple-makers of their children.
  • “Do as I say and not as I do” will not work in discipleship.
  • It’s difficult for an hour-long service to combat a week-long environment.

The Progression (Deut. 6:4-9)

  • The unrivaled God deserves an unrivaled devotion(6:4-5).
  • God’s Word must be the essential guide for every aspect of our lives (6:6).
  • Parents must take diligent responsibility for the spiritual formation of their children (6:7).
  • We must view discipleship as a process rather than a program (6:7).
  • Allow God’s Word to permeate our lives, to fill our homes, and to invade our communities (6:8-9).

The Plan

  • Fight Against the Common Concerns
    • What if I don’t present the information correctly?
      • Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.”
      • Be committed enough to say “I’ll find out.”
      • Allow this to encourage your own growth (2 Tim. 2:15).
    • Wouldn’t a trained professional be more trustworthy?
      • A pastor might know the material better, but he will not know your child better.
      • You should be the most constant figure in your child’s life.
      • Your involvement will endure even when other role models change.
    • What if I turn them off to Christianity?
      • Children aren’t turned off to Christianity if their parents are devoted disciples but if they are fake followers. 
      • Let your love for Jesus be contagious.
      • Your job is to point to a relationship of grace rather than a religion of works.
  • Work With the Proven Methods
    • Chronologically Teach the Bible
      • Teaching children isolated stories can teach moral lessons but possibly neglect God’s truth.
      • Prioritize a method of teaching your children the big picture of the Bible.
    • Highlight Teachable Moments
      • Embrace the scheduled and spontaneous moments of family discipleship.
      • The most memorable lessons are often associated with a pivotal experience.
    • Initiate Open-Ended Questions
      • Refrain from using leading or closed questions to ascertain a child’s real comprehension of spiritual matters.
      • Always display motivation and excitement when a child shows interest in spiritual matters.
    • Live an Authentic Example
      • Children are able to ascertain the difference between a parent’s desire and a parent’s obligation.
      • If you wouldn’t be satisfied if your child imitated your example in a particular area, you need to make changes now.
    • Decipher a Child’s Readiness
      • Beware of the danger of a child desiring spiritual growth due to peer or parental pressure.
      • Parents should continue to monitor progress over the years to reaffirm decision and discipleship.

#2. Unless the LORD Builds the House

[Psalm 127:1-5] – The priority of parenting is discipling your own children. If not careful, many other good pursuits will distract you from this one great task. 

The Need 

  • We often blame the spiritual condition of our children on the culture we cannot control rather than on the home we can change.
  • We have expected the church to do what God expects the family to do.
  • The church has replaced parents with programs, and we are losing our children one generation at a time.

The Architect [Psalm 127:1-2]

  • What happens in your house is just as important as what happens in God’s house.
  • The most critical spiritual environment is the one in which you live.
  • God’s ideal is when a family of God partners with the people of God for the discipleship of every generation.
  • Christian homes are in danger when we succumb to worthless pursuits and frivolous concerns.

The Occupants [Psalm 127:3-5]

  • Children are a blessing and not a burden.
  • The family and the church must work together to sharpen the two sides of each arrow.
  • A trained warrior understands that a sharpened arrow can go where he cannot.
  • Every arrow needs to be sharpened, aimed, and released.

#3. The Exposed Places

[Nehemiah 4:10-14] – In every home, there are exposed places for danger to enter. We must identify where they are, build up the walls, and fight against combative tactics.

Nehemiah’s Context

  • God’s people had lived in exile due to their sin, but God was gracious to allow them to return home.
  • Ezra led the people to rebuild the temple for worship, but Nehemiah led the people to rebuild the wall for protection.
  • The builders became overwhelmed by the massive task, the formidable opposition, and the pessimistic commentators.

Nehemiah’s Instruction

  • Nehemiah placed the builders in the exposed places of the wall and exchanged their tools for weapons.
  • To increase their commitment to the battle, he positioned each man’s family behind him.
  • Nehemiah encouraged the people to do three things:
    • Disregard the enemy
    • Remember the LORD
    • Fight for the family
  • The battle was won that day because the potential loss was all the motivation they needed.

Nehemiah’s Application

  • We have a ruthless enemy who is trying to destroy your family.
  • Families must fight against the enemy’s attacks and rebuild what has previously been destroyed.
  • Disregard any critic who says your family is too endangered to survive.
  • Remember how far the LORD has brought you and believe that He isn’t through yet with your family.
  • Take whatever defensive measures and offensive attacks necessary to protect your family.