If you attend Grace Community Church and have kids in Cross Street, our K-5th ministry, then you’ve heard us say that we believe the PARENT to be the most important spiritual leader in their child’s life. In fact, many churches across the country are promoting this truth. Why is this catching on? Here are two reasons:
1. “The average church only has 40 hours in a given year to influence a life. The average parent has 3,000 hours per year to influence a life.” Think Orange by Reggie Joiner
2. Parents are commanded by God to take ownership of being the MOST IMPORANT spiritual leader in their child’s life:
“4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a]5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
I think up to this point most parents are with us . . . they hear the statistics, they read the scripture, and they even know that to be a spiritual leader is written in their DNA when it comes to parenting. Taking in the info is not the challenge . . . it’s living it out. It all sounds great, but applying it to our everyday life seems completely unnatural, unclear, and most of all . . . TERRIFYING.
So let’s simplify this equation to its most basic form. Let’s nail this down so that parents can hear the phrase “MOST IMPORTANT SPIRITUAL LEADER” without getting anxiety. Because the truth is . . . it’s simple, it’s natural, and YOU can do it.
My little girl, Emma Kay, is getting close to her 2 year B-DAY. Emma is getting to the point where she wants to copy everything mommy and daddy do . . . good and bad, HA! Emma’s world is being shaped by how Marissa and I interact, how we live, and how we love her and each other. Whether we like it or not, Emma will also receive an ingrained sense of who God is and how He loves us from her mommy and daddy. Are we distant? If so, then God is distant. Are we forgiving? If so, then God is forgiving. You get the picture.
Now, this seems pretty scary, right? I said I wanted to make this simple and natural, and now it seems as though I am giving you an impossible task. Well, I’m not. Because I don’t have to be a saint, a theologian, Mr. Perfect, or anything else I am not. All I have to do is LOVE . . . love my Emma Kay the best I know how and always try to be the dad Emma needs me to be in her life.
What does that look like? When Emma wants my attention, I give it to her. Then she’ll have a better chance of understanding that God is always paying attention and wants to spend time with her. When Emma is upset, I’m there to hug her, to kiss her, and to let her know that through the pain I’ll be right there with her. Then she’ll have a better chance of understanding that Jesus is with us in the midst of pain and joy. My main duty as Emma’s MOST IMPORTANT SPIRITUAL LEADER is to love her extravagantly . . . mirroring the extravagance of Christ’s love for us.
Right now for Emma it’s all about the hugs and kisses . . . I’ll be thrilled when she can simply say “Jesus”. But what about as she gets older? What about teaching Emma the bible? What about the talks I should have with her about biblical virtues and what not? What about, what about, what about? WELL, I have a simple answer for that too: I need to partner with my church. Every Sunday at Grace parents are given tools that provide them with conversation starters and activities to do during the week that reinforce what was covered in church that day.
SIMPLICITY!!! I LOVE IT! So . . . now all I have to do is LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my little Emma Kay . . . that’s simple, it’s natural, and I’m not scared to love my child. On top of that, throughout the years as she progresses through preschool, elementary school, middle school, and even high school . . . I will be given tools from church that will help me be the MOST IMPORTANT SPIRITUAL LEADER . . .
You’ve got what it takes. You are ready for this role. And your Heavenly Father and your church believes in YOU. But most of all . . . your little girl or your little boy believes in YOU.
If you’re child is currently in Cross Street (k-5th) at Grace Community Church be sure to always get a Fridge Door Card and a Godtime Card from your child’s Small Group Leader. If you are not given one by mistake . . . ask the Group Leader for one. It is ESSENTIAL that you always walk away with the tools you need in order to reinforce what was covered in Cross Street that day.
If you forget or are absent . . . stop by our website:
Click on the PARENTS link in order to download the Godtime Card and Fridge Door Card . . .