I love when I get to read a book written by someone I know. Their words mean more because I know the one behind the words who wrote them. A lot has been written about the importance of parents taking the lead in the faith formation of their kids, and you can check out a number of them.
My friend Michael Kennedy, who pastors a church near us, wrote a great primer on understanding what it means for parents to take the discipleship lead with their children. If you're in next generation ministry, a pastor, or a parent, you need to grab a copy of this book and work through it. You'll be confronted with not only the biblical witness of how important this task is, but the practical outworking from not only a pastor but a husband and dad.
My major takeaways from the book were:
1. Change the Win - All of us want our kids to get good grades, play sports, be in school clubs, get a scholarship, and help us retire in Aruba. Those are all good things, but they're not the primary thing God has called us to. As parents, our primary responsibility is for the spiritual development and faith formation of our kids.
2. Think about Legacy - Our kids will outlast us, and they will pass what they learned to their kids, who will pass on to theirs, and so on. When we think about it, we don't get a long time (216 months) to make an eternal impact on not only our children but a multigenerational legacy to those who come after them. That's why it's so critical for us to invest in our children, to pray for them, to share the Gospel with them, to connect them in the church, and to foster in them a love for God and for others.
3. Do it Together - You can't do this alone parents, no matter how good you are. You need each other. You need the church. God has given us a community of older parents, grandparents, singles, and pastors who can love and build and encourage. You can't do it alone. But you also can't outsource.
4. It's Doable - Parent-driven discipleship isn't a magic pill or a formal ritual. It starts by spending time together as a family, by taking advantage of the moments God gives us (think about how many questions your kid can ask in a day), by worship together on Sunday, and by seeing your family dinner as more than a time to stuff your face and talk about your day.
Thanks Michael for writing this. And beyond that, thank you for living out what you write with Janie and your girls.
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.