There has been a continuous thought on my mind ever since I have had children, and have become a church leader. I often ponder and ask the question to pastors who have gone before me, how do you in my case especially as a pastor, raise your children to not become burned out with church, or worse fall out with God completely…. ( pastors kids see the good and the bad) maybe I can explain it like this, when you go to your favorite restaurant where the food is absolutely amazing, but if you were to go in the kitchen and see how the food preparation area was in chaos and possibly not even clean and how the cooks often got in verbal confrontations over the preparation of a meal, it would make you have second thoughts about your favorite restaurant. Even though you love the food, when you have access to the kitchen it makes you view your favorite dish much differently, and if you’re not careful it will make you not want to go back to that restaurant at all…
It seems that I am learning there are a few commonalities of those who are successful, and some commonalities of those who are unsuccessful. Some of the things that I have noticed that will keep your children in church and loving the Lord is don’t use the Bible to tell your kids only how bad they are. It’s like using God as just the disciplinarian (goodcop/bad cop scenario) in their life.
I have also noticed that you do not need to talk church business in front of your children especially when it is of a negative manner about the things that take place in church. In my case, I am a veteran as well as a pastor so I tend to lean more towards the strict conservative personality type. BUT here is the thing, you can be as disciplined with your children as you want to be, (within reason) but you also have to balance that out with loving them and having great family time and lots of 1 on 1 FUN moments with them. Let them know you can enjoy life and be a believer. I have learned that you have to be just as much fun as you are strict…. also, let your house be the fun house for all of your children’s friends. I always rather my kids and their friends to hang out at our house because I know the morals of our home. (And I am not saying everyone else has loose morals, I’m just saying I can be certain at my home what will be going on……)
Again, what I am sharing is definitely not a written law somewhere, but these are just things that I have noticed.
Jentezen Franklin once asked Tommy Barnett how he was so successful in raising Godly children who became Godly adults, and his response was, “I live it just a little higher than I want them to live it”….. The reasoning he gave was each generation will take it down just a notch. In other words, if you want your children to live at a certain level, you need to “model” just a little higher than that level.
I have also found that when you let your children help you with ministry within the church, even from a young age, it helps them take ownership and realize that they can make a difference. Your children want to feel connected and needed in the body of Christ…
And lastly, be completely honest with your children. They are way more aware of what’s going on than you think. So be truthful. Don’t go overboard with details they do not need to know, but sit down with them and talk it out. If you make a mistake, simply apologize and let them know that no one is perfect.
I pray continually for my children, the ones that are grown and the ones that think they’re grown! (Hadley) And as Randall Lowery always tells me, you are either going to lose your children or win your children from the 13 to 16 years range. You can absolutely raise Godly children to become Godly adults, even in the world we live…..