A few weeks ago, I attended a Visionary Family Ministries conference led by Rev. Dr. Rob Rienow. He led workshops on marriage, parenting, and the prodigal child. I was so inspired by his words that I decided to share and reflect on the message from this conference.
When our grandparents were born, they didn’t have all the supports that we do today such as; Youth Pastors, Sunday School Superintendents, or Confirmation Camps. Today, local churches are doing more than ever to bring kids to Christ yet an increasing number of kids brought up in the church are leaving as adults. This is not a crisis of the church, it is a crisis of the family, according to Rob Rienow. He firmly believes that the central place for Christian training is in the home with support from the church. He suggests that we have spent less time at home training our children to grow in their faith. It’s time to make our children’s salvation a priority in the home, as well as, at church.
At the start of the parenting workshop, Rienow posed this question, “What is the most important thing you want for your kids when they leave home someday? … a full scholarship to a university, a lot of friends, a high paying job or to be a person of faith and character. I don’t know about you, but I want my kids and grandkids to know God as their Lord and Savior, to find a church home and to allow Christ to lead their life journey.
The biblical purpose of parenting and grand-parenting is to impress on the hearts of our children a relationship with God. Deuteronomy 6: 4-7 tells us to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments I give to you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” My take on this verse is that I need to turn my own heart to God and build my own personal relationship with God so that I will be able to share my faith with my own kids. The verse implies that I should talk with my kids and grandkids about God every day from the time we wake up to the time we lie down. This role does not change when our children leave home. Our mission as parents is a life long ministry and God will walk with us every step of the way.
As parents/grandparents, are we giving enough time and energy to raising our children to have a personal relationship with God? Are we sharing our faith stories? Are we reading the bible to our children and grandkids? Are we sharing faith lessons during the teachable moments of their day? Are we regularly worshiping with them in the home and at church? The ministry of parenting can be overwhelming but Rienow reminds us that God never calls us to do things that He does not empower us to accomplish.
I challenge you to take time in the next few days to make a commitment to be a disciple to your children and grandchildren. This is a key way that you can evangelize for Jesus. Then, pray that your children and grandchildren will love God with all their heart, soul and strength. Pray that they will share their faith with others. Pray that your children will lead your grandkids to know and love God. Pray that God will protect your children from temptation and fill them with the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray for God’s guidance and to give you the moments and the words to pass faith through the generations in your family.
If you would like more information from Rob Rienow about visionary parenting or suggestions about how you might pass on your faith, I encourage you to check out the Visionary Family Ministries website at www.VisionaryFam.com.