There is one lesson that every Christian parent needs to know…one truth that I want to be reminded of as I rear my own kids into adolescence and eventually adulthood.
It’s a simple lesson but one that’s easy to forget if we’re not grooming it into existence.
Here it is in the form of a question.
Parents, do you wonder what God’s will for your life is?
Disciple your children.
Tell them about Jesus. Lead them by living your faith in front of them. Teach them. And raise them to be baptized and workers in the body of Christ.
Not only does research beg for parents to lead the way in a child’s faith development. (A parents’ influence is the sole reason why a teenager will have a high faith importance growing up.) But the Bible commands us to make disciples.
Regrettably, we tend to share a default view of the command to “make disciples” that’s limited to the context of formal ministry. Meaning outreach to people I’m not related to. Meaning to act as missionary somewhere else. Meaning to facilitate a Bible study and leading a small group. But it also means leading my own children to Christ and being someone who disciples the people around me as a way of life. As cute and wonderful as they are, our kids/ teenagers have sinned and come short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) and it’s our responsibility along with the body of Christ (the church) to show them what the gift of God is (eternal life in Christ and living in his kingdom purpose).
I was reminded of this when I was reading David Platt’s book, Radical. In a section when he is talking about making disciples he says,
Any Christian can do this. You don’t need to have inordinate skill or unusual abilities to make disciples. You don’t need to be a successful pastor or a charismatic leader to make disciples. You don’t need to be a great communicator or innovative thinker to make disciples. That’s why Jesus said every Christian must do this.
One of the unintended consequences of contemporary church strategies that revolve around performances, places, programs, and professionals is that somewhere along the way people get left out of the picture.
But according to Jesus, people are God’s method for winning the world to himself. People who have been radically transformed by Jesus. People who are not sidelined to sit in a chair on Sundays while they watch the professionals take care of ministry for them. People who are equipped on Sundays to particpate in ministry every day of the week. People who are fit and free to do precisely what Jesus did and what Jesus told us to do. Make disciples. (p. 91)
And who better to begin with than our own children.
Youth leaders and youth pastors are important. The church is important. But most important is the daily influence of parents and their radical obedience to Christ.
Since disciples of Jesus—–genuine, committed, self-sacrificing followers of Christ—–are not made over night then we should encourage and equip the people who have them overnight for the longest period of their human lives. Parents.
Tell your parents that you want them to realize their importance in their teenager’s faith. Tell your parents that you want them to understand the influence they posses. Remind them often and then tell them again. It’s our shared responsibility to make disciples and we may have some of the best encouragement they can get.