Sunday, March 30, 2014

What I’ve Learned from Family Driven Faith and Rock Solid Kids: Raising Children in the Lord is the Job of the Family

How to raise kids in Christ is a topic of interest to me, especially with a small army of little people in my care.  How do you teach purity as being beyond just not having sex outside of marriage?  How do you teach Biblical truth as a way of life in a world where Christians are treated as less intelligent for their beliefs?  Living for Christ is not just an at-church activity, so how do you live that out with your kids in life every day?

 Voddie Bauchman’s Family Driven Faith and Larry Fowler’s Rock-Solid Kids are both books that explore these questions and give advice, the best being straight from the Bible:  families raise their kids in Christ and should not expect the church or anyone else to do it for them. 

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.   Deuteronomy 4:9

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11:19

Fathers,[a] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  Ephesians 6:4

In a world where the majority of Christian kids are walking away from the church in college, questions are starting to arise about why.  Sure, the church isn’t perfect, but why are kids walking away from Christ’s bride, and by their own admission at times, their faith altogether?  Many theorize that kids were looking at Jesus/Bible reading/spiritual stuff as things they did at church on Sundays, sometimes youth group on Wednesdays, probably church camp, some Disciple Now each year.  Then they went home.  They went to school.  They went to extracurricular activities.  Jesus didn’t come with them.  When they went to college, Jesus, or what they thought was their relationship with Him, stayed behind.  They basically went on living their lives 24/7 the way they lived them before, except now there were no “Jesus breaks” during church time.  As Bauchman says, and I am paraphrasing, they weren’t raised in Christ.  They were raised in church.  There’s a difference, and the results are coming home to roost.

Both books pointed out the obvious:  God didn’t ask the church to raise our kids in Christ; He told us to. 

However, the habit seems to be to hand our kids over to the “professionals,” the childrens ministers, youth pastors.  Parents, it is being assumed, have washed their hands of teaching their kids the Bible, praying with them regularly, laying down Biblical truths, helping them memorize and understand scripture, as well as teaching them what the love of Christ looks like and how it should be displayed in our lives if we are following Him.

This isn’t true for all parents, and children and youth programs are not in themselves bad.  They are not to replace a Biblical upbringing in the home, though.  Both books pointed out that this may be what’s happening, why kids aren’t firm in their faith and aren’t carrying it with them. 

Within the pages, the books gave practical advice for how to start family Bible study, prayer time, and the encouragement that it is not too late to start, no matter the age of kids or how many years it hasn’t been in their lives.  Of course they encouraged being embedded in a church but that raising kids in Christ falls squarely on the shoulders of parents.  

With extracurricular activities, honors classes, and all the latest and greatest programs to advance and enrich kids’ lives, I want to always take the responsibility of raising my kids in Christ as the most important, the number one over anything else I can offer.  Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6  I want to cling to this promise, but it means I need to lean on Christ to help me do the training.  Then, standing on God’s word, I will live confident that our kids will stay on the path God has planned for them, firm in their faith.

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