*My Take* will probably be a regular feature here. I am reading through 1st Corinthians for my devotional time. Earlier this week I was in chapter 3 and saw verses 6 through 9 in a new light. Let me explain.
Being involved in the ministries that I am, I sometimes (probably subconsciously) see the Bible through those lenses. I end up asking myself how do these verses apply to ministry. I don't know if that is a good thing or not (a debate for another time), but it does happen so I roll with it.
Now back to 1 Cor. 3:6-9 (ESV): "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor He who waters is anything, but only God who gives growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. You are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building."
There are 3 parts of these verses that I believe directly apply to the relationship between the churches, families and leading children to God.
1. Both planting and watering are necessary I admit that I know next to nothing about farming. I know that when it rains a lot, my grass grows and probably needs a mowing more that once a week (doesn't mean it gets it that often, but it could really use it). I do have some understanding about the relationship of planting to watering. If something isn't planted, it can't grow. Planting on its own is not enough, it also need watering.
I believe that parents have the primary responsibility for the spiritual upbringing of their children. It begins and ends in the home. With that being said, somewhere in the middle, there is something to be said for having another voice speak into the lives of kids. Having them see the Christian life lived out by someone other than Mom and/or Dad can teach them as well.
I don't want to get into the debate about who is the planter and who is doing the watering. If pressed, I would say that parents should be doing all of the planting and most the watering, while church and its ministries also water. They should be complimentary, one watering the spots the other missed. The important thing here is that both are necessary for growth.
2. Growth doesn't happen apart from God. Yes, God has called us (parents and church) to plant and water His Word into the lives of our children. This is our work. Paul feels the need to remind us that the growth, or heart change we desire to see, it HIS WORK! He calls us to be faithful, while He does the work of changing the heart.
He is the only one who can do it. It doesn't matter how logical our arguments are, if God is not involved, they will fail. Our best words and actions will only get our kids so far. God needs to be involved. It is only by His power and His gospel that lives are changed. This leads me to my last point.
3. Allow God to work on you, while you work on your kids. Not only are we God's workers, we are also being worked on by Him at the same time. We need the life changing power of God to be active in our lives just as much as our kids do. We need the Gospel to be real and active, progressively sanctifying us as we lead our kids. We can't fill their cups if ours are empty.
The Bible talks a lot about planting/watering, sowing/reaping, and harvesting. We need to take note of these passages and be part of God's plan in the lives of our kids. We can't simply pray for God to change them without being willing to do the work alongside Him. He has work for all of us to do, both parents and the community of faith.
That's my take, trying to get to the heart of the matter.