Sunday, May 13, 2012

Being a Christian Parent Requires Intentionality

I wrote this a few months ago for a guest post on Joy in the Blink. But I wanted to post it here to so that I can refer back to it later on. 

What does it really mean to be a Christian parent?

Does Christian parenting mean that we choose our names from the original Greek or that we put Chris Tomlin music on our pregnant wombs?

Does it mean that we say a two-line prayer before dinner and paint our nurseries like a Noah's ark petting zoo?

I think our calling as a Christian parent is hard, complicated, and full of satisfaction. What a privilege that the Lord has given us as parents!

Here is just one of the many ways to separate us as Christian parents, instead of just nice moral ones:

Find ways to intentionally build Scripture into our days.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 is going to encourage us to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and might. And we are to teach these things diligently to our children. Loving the Lord is not something our kids learn simply by proximity of Christian parents or a good children's program at church. We have to instruct our kids in the ways of the Lord. This will require a lot of work on our part. If, as Dt. 6 says, we are to talk about the Lord when we sit in our house and walk along the way, then we have to give our children the raw materials to be able to talk about. 

The Story Book Bible is a great beginning story Bible to get your kids to understand that the whole of the Bible is about Jesus. From beginning to end, Jesus is being announced as King. And don't just assume that because there is a cute picture of Jesus simultaneously petting a lamb and a child on the cover of a children's storybook Bible that the theology is great. So many children's Bibles jack up the stories and make them very man-centered. Do your homework and stick with the kid's Bibles that actually keep God central. This is an important foundation in building a solid theological foundation in kids.

The Desiring God children's curriculum will help you as a family begin to talk about theology. While there are lots of good children's ministries out there, we find that most don't assume your kids can handle theology. We have found that kids can actually handle the bigger truths of God with relative ease when it's communicate at their level. This curriculum does a fantastic job of just that. We talked about the omniscience and sovereignty of God with our 4 year old. It gives our kids a chance to move beyond David and Goliath and sink deep into a rich understanding of God. Choose a night a week for a family time of worship. Go through this together. Sing, pray, confess and plead to the Lord together.  

The Westminster Catechism for kids is a series of questions and answers for our kids to set in their hearts. Basic fundamentals like "Who Made You?" and your child would reply with "God." 

Seeds of Worship is a worship album of Scripture that don't make me want to pound someone when my kids want to listen to them over and over again. I love hearing my kids sing Eph. and John as they run through the house wearing only a feather boa and their underwear.

Memorize Scripture together. Desiring God has Fighter verses that will give you plenty to work through. Make it fun by giving them characters that move through an enchanted forest each time they get a verse done. At the end, go get ice cream or have a pizza party together.

Justin Taylor had loads of resources at Gospel Coalition for families too.  And he is way smarter than me, so head over there and check it out. 

Will people look at you strange when your child is singing, "Who is the chief end of man? The chief end of man is to glorify God!" in Target? Probably. But people find it cute when a four-year old sings "All the Single Ladies."

We need to start redeeming the minds and hearts of our children at a young age. Sometimes we have people who give us a hard time about the amount of Scripture we try to build into our kids. When Dt. 6 uses the word "diligently," I see no other way around it. The world is offering my littles a buffet of temptations and I need to remind them that the Word of the Lord is the only thing that will feed their souls. They aren't going to learn this on their own. It is our responsibility as parents to breathe this into them. These are the children the Lord has entrusted to us for a time. It's only for a season. A very brief season. 

Let's take this season back from what the world is offering them and give it to the Lord so that He can write His promises into their souls.
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