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How to Become Your Children's Spiritual Leader
(Excerpted from Awana Starts At Home. Click here to purchase this book from Awana.)
Vision begins in God's Word.
Look up the following Bible verses:
Each instruction is directed to parents, not to pastors, youth or children's workers, Sunday school teachers, Awana leaders or schoolteachers. Of course, all these people come around the parent to assist and support in shaping a child's life, but parents bear the ultimate responsibility for their children's spiritual well-being.
How are you doing?
OK, if God's standard is parents bearing the ultimate responsibility, how are you doing in relation to that standard? It's a convicting question for all of us. But the good news is that there are simple steps to take toward God's standard of parental spiritual leadership.
Start small. Start simple. Just start.
Rely on God. If you have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, you have all the power you need! Simply ask God for it and then walk daily in faith. He will provide strength and courage as you need it.
However, if you don't know Jesus Christ as your Savior, you can't know God's power in your life. (Jesus Himself said so in the Bible; see John 14:6.) But the good news is that you can know Christ as Savior, even today! Click here to learn God's plan of salvation. Please contact the pastor, Awana at Home Director or Awana commander at the church where you first heard of Awana at Home. They would be happy to discuss this with you!
Expand your vision. Parenting is tough, but too often we get into "survival mode" and forget about the amazing opportunity we have to shape the future. We suggest a couple of easy reads to feed the "big picture" in your heart and mind:
- God's Grand Vision for the Home by Dr. Rob Rienow: Once a busy pastor with too many church ministry opportunities prioritized ahead of his own family, Rob's heart was changed as he considered what God's Word has to say about families. You'll be inspired by Rob's heart-level vision and learn from his practical how-to points as he shares how both impact his own family today.
- Shaping Your Family's Faith by Jack and Dona Eggar: You'll be drawn into this tale of one family's journey from status quo, to danger, to restoration in their family life. This book vividly illustrates what ignorance of God's design for families can result in, but also what newfound faith in God's principles can do. Written with keen insight by Awana President/CEO Jack Eggar and his wife, Dona, from their wealth of parenting, church ministry and missions experience.
Build a team. Why do we seek out encouragement and accountability in other areas of our lives but so often feel that we must shoulder the load ourselves when it comes to parenting? Just because parenting is your responsibility doesn't mean you can't have teammates along the way! Take these simple steps to build your team:
- Whether through a community group or on your own, connect with at least one other parent (but preferably two or three) for times of conversation and support. Encourage one another in the simple steps you're seeking to accomplish.
- Ask parents whom you respect (perhaps whose kids are grown now) to pray for you. One of those prayer partners may become a mentor!
- Don't forget your own family! You are a team, and you need to act like one. This means that you can let your kids know (appropriate to their age and maturity) about some of the things you struggle with as a parent. Ask them to pray for you!
Lead your family in worship. Don't let the terminology throw you off; this is not a new concept. From the time the Church was established, families have gathered together, worshiping God and learning from His Word. (Sadly, only in the last century or so has this practice become uncommon.)
Consider this quote from God's Grand Vision for the Home
"Family worship has been at the heart of Christian homes for centuries; God calls us to family worship because it draws us closer to Him, keeps us close with one another and prepares our children to make a difference in the world for Christ."
Who wouldn't want to experience those benefits in their family life? Rob Rienow's book is a great place to begin learning more about family worship.
Perhaps you're more familiar with the term "family devotions." You can use that if you prefer it. Many prefer "family worship" because it puts the mind's focus on worship, and the object of our worship is God!
Whatever you call it, for many this entire idea may be new and intimidating. That's OK! Everyone has to start where they are, but ask God for courage to take simple steps. Then do it again tomorrow, next week, next month. Be faithful to your responsibility. You could create a lasting spiritual legacy that will continue through your family for generations!