As parents, we are ultimately responsible for the spiritual training of our children. We cannot outsource this to the church or other sources. While a thriving Kids Ministry is vital, this should be seen as supplemental to what is already happening at home. Being in church once-a-week cannot make up for a poor spiritual diet the rest of the week; this is true for adults and it is true for children as well.
It is important to begin to lead our children into their own relationship with God at a young age. Kids can have quiet times where they pray, read the Bible, and hear from the Lord. And on top of that, every Christian family should have regular times of worship, prayer, and Bible study together.
The Bible describes making our walk with God part of our everyday family life in Deuteronomy 6:6-9:
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
I believe that this passage encompasses both planned and spontaneous spiritual activities in the home.
The best way to ensure that your family has worship times together is to simply build it into your schedule. Our normal family devotion times happen on Monday evenings. They don’t look the same each week, but there is usually a time of Bible study and prayer together. Often we will include a time of worship, and sometimes our kids will act out a skit of a Bible story.
On top of this, my wife leads our kids in a time of prayer and Bible study at the beginning of each school day (our children home school). We also make sure to pray over and bless our kids each night before going to bed. The point here is to build in meaningful times of spiritual growth. Find what works best for you and your family and stick with it. If you miss a time, pick it up the next week and keep it going. Consistency is key in this!
Aside from planned and scheduled spiritual activities at home, it is also important to be spontaneous. Having intentional and set-aside “God times” is a must, but we should also allow for God to be a part of our everyday conversation and lives. We don’t want to compartmentalize God to only church or specified days and times during the week.
Talk with your kids about what they are learning in Kids Ministry. Work with them on their memory verses. Have conversations over meals about what God is speaking and doing. Welcome their questions and talk through the difficult things they are walking through. Have spontaneous times of praying for needs that arise. Play worship music and have worship times while driving in the car. The possibilities are endless!
This doesn’t mean that you have to force spiritual things to happen or make every conversation about God and the Bible. But look for teachable moments that come in the natural course of the day, watch for good opportunities to ask questions about your children’s spiritual lives, and pay attention to the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
Parents, we cannot afford to be complacent about the spiritual lives of our children. We cannot afford to think that bringing them to church is enough. We are the primary spiritual mentors for our children, and we must take up this call. Incorporate regular times of worship in your home. Talk to your children about spiritual things and pray with them regularly. These things will make all the difference in the world!