As parents that serve Jesus, the deepest desire of our hearts is to have our kids grow and mature in their faith to be faithful disciples. The challenge is real as we think about our current society. Our lives are busy and it seems as if there are not enough hours in the day. Raising Christ followers is a daunting task. As pastors of our local churches, all we hope to do is walk alongside parents and provide the support needed to complete the task as disciplers of our children. We are passionate about seeing the next generation rise up with solid faith to serve and reach the world.
Our culture has been pretty hands off when it comes to discipling our children. I don’t know how many times even I have thought, “My kids have a great children’s pastor and amazing leaders. They’re teaching them about Jesus.” I’ve dropped them off and expected them to “raise my children in the way of the Lord”. The average church attending child spends an hour with their church family each week. What happens the other 167 hours of the week? Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” We’re instructed as parents to teach our children more than simply for the hour that they’re in the hands of your church’s children’s ministry.
Our family team has launched what we hope will encourage other families to understand that they have the biggest impact in the lives of their children. Milestones walks parents and children through their lives starting in nursery through high school. Each stage describes what a child should be learning and how their faith should be developing. It’s our hope to take them through key times in their lives and support our parents on how to reach their children.
Currently, my husband and I are serving as the youth pastors of our church. We welcome students entering middle school and walk along side them through graduation. As youth pastors, we get to transition our students at a crucial time of their developing faith. We call the transition from middle school to high school “Rite of Passage.” Once a student reaches high school he or she is often times partially financially independent perhaps by holding an after school job and can maintain some kind of responsibility under the authority of their parents. By the time a student has walked through our family ministry from nursery through middle school, we hope that they have accomplished some key goals along the way. It is our desire that the student be functioning in their own personal faith and practicing personal disciplines as they’ve watched examples in their parents and leaders. We would also hope that the student would have begun developing a biblical worldview and know the importance of honoring their parents. Another key goal for this age group is also that the student would understand that the relationships and friendships they develop, will determine the direction and quality of their lives.
Those things cannot be accomplished by simply taking our children to a church service once or twice a week. It’s a huge responsibility on us as parents and it shouldn’t be shouldered alone. Perhaps the “it takes a village” theory holds more truth than any of us really expected.