For the last seven weeks at Westlake, we have been talking about discipleship, and what it means to follow Jesus. It is easy to talk about what it looks like in the church, but I believe often we overlook the place where discipleship must begin. One of my greatest concerns as a pastor and as a father is the rapid increase in our country of people who say they don’t have any beliefs in spiritual matters or they don’t see the need for church. I don’t want to condemn anyone with this, but I think we as parents have to take a hard look at ourselves and ask the question, why are our children growing up this way? Many parents often look to the church to be the sole spiritual teacher of their children. This is not what the Bible teaches however. The primary teachers of the children were and are to be the parents. We see this in many places in the Bible. One such place is what is known as the Shema prayer, that every Jewish person would learn and recite at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day. It is recorded in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 which says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down, and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” In other words, mom and dad, we need to be teaching, telling, and modeling for our children what it means to love God and follow Him. The church is meant to be a helper to the parents in the spiritual formation of their children, not the primary teacher. Think of it this way; there are 168 hours in a given week. If you figure that a child gets 8 hours of sleep a night that is 56 hours a week. The second most common task for a kid in a week is school. If they are in school for around 8 hours a day that is 40 hours a week. So, in two activities for the average child, 96 hours out of 168 are already spoken for. By the way, if your child is in a public school, they are getting indoctrinated with the world’s philosophies, which are almost always contrary to what Scripture says, for 40 hours a week. By the way, I’m not condemning any parent who sends their child to a public school, nor am I condemning any public school teacher or worker. I simply want to point out this discrepancy. If the church is the primary teacher for your child, at best, the church will get to spiritually form your child for 3 hours a week (Sunday school, worship, and Wednesday night). 40 hours of the world’s philosophies versus 3 hours a week of God’s truth. This is why it is so vital for mom and dad to be the primary spiritual teachers of their children. Our children will mimic and model the priorities that they see in us. This is why discipleship must begin in the home! We are one generation from a Gospel witness being extinguished in this country, and we are approaching that tipping point quickly. Therefore, this generation of parents; we must stand up, and boldly declare, I will teach and model for my children what it means to love and follow God.
For more information or resources on how to begin disciplining your children, please reach out to us at email@example.com or you can e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. May this be the generation where we see people concerned and consumed with the expansion of God’s kingdom.