How To Invest “TIME” In Your Child’s Spiritual Life

Your child's spiritual future might be at risk! One of the greatest investments we will ever make as a parent, is the investment into our kid's spiritual life. If you are a Christian, please understand that I'm talking about his or her ability to know Jesus Christ and live a life that is right with God. Believers know the value of this. Is it a here and now issue? Yes. Is it an eternal issue? Yes. As parents, we've been given the great task of raising our children to know and love the Lord. This is not something light or easy. Everyday, I'm finding out how difficult it really can be.

Just like we see the value of spending time with our kids, we have to also see the value of spending time on their spiritual formation. Nothing can replace the power of YOU pouring into your child. I'm a pastor, so I love the church. I believe in the power of the church to teach and point the way; but when it comes to your child, the church is only meant to be supplemental. It is the responsibility of every parent to teach their child to know and love Jesus Christ. With that being said, I have a simple acronym using the letters that spell the word, “time” that can help point the focus of our child's spiritual development where it needs to be.

T – TRAINING – Scripture says that we are to “train up a child in the way” that he or she should go. It is our job as a parent to train our kids. It can't be shifted onto the church. We need to personally invest some time training our kids spiritually. What does this involve? The basics…read the Bible together. Pray together. Talk about what a scripture means. Maybe even memorize a verse together. My wife and I have always said bedtime prayers together with our children. You probably have too; but don't be afraid to pray real “adult” prayers over them. Let them hear YOU pray. One day they will grow up and remember the things that mom and dad prayed over them. We have also recently started including the scriptures in our training. It's easy. Pick a simple scripture or two. Read it together or read it to them and explain what it means. You could even use this every day for a week and memorize it together if you like. The point is, just spend some time training your child.

I – IMAGINATION – Don't be boring! Find something or some way that will connect with your child. Try your best to make things fun and engaging. You don't have to be the most creative person in the world either. Our goal should be to make the time we invest with our children in spiritual formation, a time they will remember with fondness. If you're a serious person, like me, this isn't always easy. It doesn't have to be hard though. Go to a different spot. Go outside. Use your surroundings. Talk about things they've seen or heard and incorporate those into your spiritual time. Use a coloring sheet if that's age appropriate. Use a Bible translation they can understand. Lead them in a prayer. Somehow bring a story to life. Use visuals. Spiritual development should be one of the most engaging times we spend with our children simply because the creator God is involved.

M – MODELING – Leaders reproduce what they are, not what they say. This is a valuable principle to remember. Our kids aren't just listening to what we say about God. They are watching what kind of people we are. They see if we have inconsistencies. Kids pick up quickly if we say one thing but do another. We have to model what we want to see developed in our children. If we want them to speak positive words, we have to be positive. If they are going to have faith in God, we have to model faith and trust in God. You won't reproduce what you teach, you will reproduce who you are. Parents should pay close attention to who they are becoming. Eventually their child will be the product of what they see lived out.

E – ENCOURAGEMENT – Every kid needs a ton of support. They are going to make mistakes. Your child will fail. We need to be the encourager in our child's life. Kids will seek out people that are positive and encouraging. If you want to be the number one person in your child's life…choose to be the encouraging voice. Believe me, you understand this…because YOU need encouragement as well. How would it feel to have someone come along side you as a parent and say, “good job!”? If someone were to lift you up, and build you up, how would that make you feel? It would help! There is no rule book to raising children. Guess what…There's no rule book for being a child either. The only direction your kid will have is the direction you provide. So encourage them. Build them up. Raise their potential.

These simple thoughts on investing time in your kids spiritual development WILL pay off. I'm praying that God helps every parent that reads this post to make the most of the time they've been given with their children. Don't give up! God will equip you to be the parent you need to be.

I'd love to hear your comments about how to assist your child's spiritual development. Have a great day!

What happened to the wholesome family?

Ok…so your family probably isn’t the Cleavers!
Most families aren’t perfect…
Many times we find ourselves struggling to find balance amid the crazy amount of things that we have going on…in fact, I just paused during this post to go downstairs and check because I heard my youngest son crying…He was okay…

Everything in culture fights against us being able to live a wholesome family life. People whose goal in life is to become family oriented and raise their children right are penalized! One of my favorite speakers says, “culture will bait you to the edge and then criticize you when you step over the line”. That couldn’t be truer than when it comes to raising a wholesome, godly, loving family…so…how are we supposed to go about doing that?
Well…I’m sure that I don’t have all the answers; but I will offer a few ideas that might help.

How do I develope a wholesome family?

1.) Put Jesus Christ in first place 

Let Jesus be the head of your family. Pray about your decisions and the direction that your family is going. Let your family revolve around, and trust in The Lord Jesus Christ. Putting Him first in our personal life matters…It also matters to put Him at the center of our family. This could involve the way that you prioritize your time…Do you allow Jesus to have a place in your family’s schedule? Things like attending church, praying together as a family, letting your children hear YOU pray are very important in placing Christ at the forefront of family life!

2.) Remove things that are negative, ungodly, and harmful

Part of keeping your family “wholesome” is to “keep out” anything that would make it spoil. Negative talk is a spoiler! It destroys the potential of your marriage and children. Eventually negative talk will infiltrate it’s way into all of your thinking and spoil your family.
Things that are ungodly are harmful to the spiritual health of an individual or a family. Ungodliness leads us away from Christ. It gets us into a place of sin where we need repentance. Ungodliness is a family destroyer. Evil, sin, lust, wrong talk, anger and all kinds of things operate where ungodliness is present. We must do everything we can to stay close to Jesus Christ through His word and prayer on a personal level so that WE are changed. CHANGED people lead STRONG families!

3.) Devote time to your family

Your family is a growing…living…thing. It needs your care and devotion…it needs your time! I’m a pastor, so I know about giving my time to people (although I’m not perfect and need to be much better at this…and I fail often)…One thing that I’ve often said to dads and husbands is this, “you are the pastor of your own little church”! I believe that’s true. We are called to shepherd our family as we would shepherd a church. To feed it, and care for it…to guard it, and love it…to help it, and lead it…to give to it, and give ourselves for it! Every dad and mom gets to be the pastor of their own little church so to speak. You have the opportunity to lead your children and family towards Jesus Christ and point the way that they should walk. The only way this can effectively happen is by devoting your time to your family.
That’s not easy to do in our culture. Usually both dad and mom have to work full time to make ends meet. Usually our jobs have us put in long hours away from our family…but somewhere along the way, if we want our family to grow and thrive, we have to make an investment of our time in it!
YOU are one of the most important parts of creating a wholesome family! Once your time with your family is gone..it’s  gone…once a season of life has past, it’s past…don’t miss out on the opportunities that are in front of you now…especially if you have small children!…Don’t give up though. Even if you feel like you’ve missed opportunities or even missed out on whole seasons of life…God has a way of getting us where we need to be. Your role in your children’s life may change, but your influence doesn’t have to!

It’s true…your family may never be perfect…BUT…it can be BETTER…
I believe God has designed a wholesome family life that we CAN live up to if we seek Jesus for guidance and put our heart into it!

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!