This week, I want to recommend ApParent Privilege by Steve Wright. The book is a short, easy read, but full of practical advice for parents who want to see their children develop spiritually.
This is the description from Amazon.com:
Parents have the greatest privilege of their lives literally in front of them everyday: their children. Pointing their children to Christ, modeling faith, encouraging with words, and showing unfailing love isn t a burden. It’s a privilege. Apparent Privilege will arm parents with biblical understanding and up-to-the-minute research to show them the unparalleled opportunity they have to be the primary influence of their children. It will give parents a biblical view of parenting, answer questions and concerns we all have, and help them understand how Christian parenting must become more than taking your children to church. In short, this book will equip a parent live a life where the difference is apparent.
Steve currently serves as Pastor of Discipleship and Church Planting at Family Church in West Palm Beach, FL. He has formally served as a pastor to students and families. His experience and understanding of Scripture has led him to place significant emphasis on the family for discipleship. He names seven ways that parents can nurture faith in the home:
1. Family Worship
2. Praying as a Family
3. Serving as a Family
4. Passage Trips
6. Journey days
7. Family dinnertime
He says this about the need for a home to be distinctly Christian, especially through Family Worship:
If a casual observer were to visit our homes, what practice would he or she see that is distinctly “Christian”? In many families today there is little noticeable difference between the home lives of Christians and the home lives of the unchurched. It should make us wonder what traditions and habits we are passing down to our children. It is my conviction that children need to see dad and mom leading in the study of God’s Word, sincere in their prayer life, and faithfully pointing to eternity. The Christian home has lost its badge of distinction as many families no longer practice family worship in their homes. I believe family worship, or whatever you choose to call it (family night, breakfast with Daddy, etc.), is the best place for our children to learn how to worship firsthand.
How can you begin the process of leading a time of family worship? He suggests the following small steps:
Start Small. Don’t be extreme by setting a standard of an hour each day for family worship. This will set you up for failure. Be realistic on what time and how much time works best for everyone.
Stick with it. It might be awkward at first for everyone (even you), but it will get easier over time.
Be realistic. When and how often should be determined by what works for your family and puts a win under your family’s belt. Some families start with once a month or once a week, some do every weekend, and others fo five days a week. Some families meet in the morning, some at night. Choose what works for you.
Have a plan. It could be structured or very informal, based on a Bible-reading plan or working through spiritual issues or questions. At first you may read on verse and share a statement of what God has been teaching you then end by praying for protection and blessing for your family. Some families have musical talent, and many young children love singing Bible songs. Some families memorize a verse together.
Give it time. Develop a plan for a few weeks, then evaluate later to determine if you need to make some minor tweaks or create a new plan entirely. Don’t worry, God will honor your efforts. He will finish His work.
Make it interactive. It would be wise if it weren’t a one-sided sermon. Make sure that your goal isn’t to simple scold your kids. This is a time to focus on the Lord and His Word, not on our kids’ failures and weaknesses.
Don’t overwhelm them. Make the worship time inviting and short enough leaving your children wanting for more. Then increase the length and depth as everyone gets more comfortable.
Be transparent. Be honest. Be open. Your children know you; so don’t try to fool them. If you don’t know what to say, then tell them so. In those moments, tell them that you are doing this because that is what the Bible tells us to do, and you are all learning this together.
One final word of advice: get to know parents who already have a set plan for family worship. Ask them questions. Learn from them, but understand that just because something works for their family doesn’t mean it will work for yours. The specifics of family worship are not spelled out in the Bible, but it is very clear that it is our responsibility and privilege as parents. I also encourage you to use the bible as your curriculum. There is so much confusion about which curriculum works with which age and whether or not your kids will like it. You can avoid these curriculum worries simply by going to the Bible.
Take a step of faith by submitting to God’s design for YOU to be the primary nurturer of your child(ren)’s faith. This book is simply one tool that will help you take that role seriously and give you practical advice to help you get there.
I love being your Student Pastor!
“the LORD be magnified!” Psalm 40:16