Spiritual Influence. pdf Hey, all you children, youth, and family ministry guys, help me think this through. This is the best way I can think of to illustrate what I believe the Bible teaches about the relationship between the church and the home. Let me explain my thinking so far.
Family = Central
I can't read passages like Deut. 6 or Eph. 6 without coming to the conclusion that parents need to be the primary (or central) faith trainers of their children. For me, the answer is simple; no one has as much AVAILABLE time with them.
So what gets in the way and short circuits this?
Parents 1. Kids don't come with instruction books (not that most dad's would read them anyway). Most parents don't know what they are doing when they first start out and learn as they go. 2. Lack of involvement. 3. Not taking care of their own spiritual condition. There is little or no personal devotion time, no accountability or discipleship, and no confession of sin (especially sin committed against their children). 4. Wrong expectation that this is they church's job. 5. Waiting for children to be mature enough to "make a decision for Christ."
Children / Youth 1. Culture (TV, movies, books, internet, social networking, etc). Our culture tells our kids that it is "uncool" to hang out and learn from our parents; or that parents don't understand what their kids go through. 2. Peers. The older our kids get, it seems, the more influence their peers have on them. 3. Sin (unaddressed and unconfessed) 4. Establishment of independence / rebellion.
Even in the best of circumstances, parents can't and weren't designed to do this job alone. They need the local church.
Local Church = coming along side, partnering with parents
The local church has the opportunity to do several things for parents and their families. 1. Offer encouragement, wisdom, and insight from those who have gone before them. 2. Offer training on the "how to's" and "whys" of parenting. 3. By offering examples of living a godly lifestyle by someone other than Mom and Dad for children to see.
What gets in the way and short circuits the local church from helping parents and families?
Church 1. Irrelevant ministries that don't point kids and youth to the GOSPEL. Either teaching moralistic lessons or theology without application just creates little legalists. 2. View of students. If the church views students and kids as "second class" citizens, or non members, they will lose the small amount of influence they have. 3. Not preparing parents for the job of parenting or holding them accountable (no discipleship).
Family 1. No faithful attendance or involvement in the local church. 2. Forcing kids into church programs instead of helping them see the value.
Just like parents, the local church can't do their job alone. They need the larger Christian community.
Larger Christian Community = learning from each other, all of us are smarter than one of us.
As we learn from our successes and failures, we have an obligation to share them with our brothers and sisters in Christ. How is this done? Through books, conferences / retreats, and the internet.
What gets in the way and short circuits the larger Christian community from doing this?
Christian community 1. We don't do a real good job of promoting what is helpful and where to find it. 2. There is a general lack of resources out there.
Local Church 1. Lack of communication on what is out there. 2. Too busy maintaining what programs they do have, instead of trying to make them better.
Family 1. Not looking for help they need - either because of the "lone ranger" mentality or just plain laziness. 2. Lack of communication and follow-up (accountability) from local church.
This is as far I have taken it. This is by no means the finished / final product. Help me take it apart, tweak it, and make it better. I value your opinion.