So which is it? Is it the parents’ job or the church? The answer is yes to both. Consider this question. Can you really have too many godly people pouring into the life of a child? We are all in this together. You, the parent, are commanded to teach, instruct, and model Christ to your children and this will look different in every family. That is a beautiful thing. The command is clear, but GOD allows for the very different gifting of each of us. He also has built His Church so that all parts of the body work together and have the benefit of the others. Reggie Joyner, in his book, ”Parenting beyond your capacity,” summed it up perfectly,
“When you combine the light from a faith community…with the heart of a caring family, you exponentially expand your potential to make a difference in the life of a child. These two influences will make a greater impact than either influence alone.”
Friends, we are willing to spend untold thousands of dollars to give our children the very best in secular education. We hire experts because we want our children to have every opportunity for success. At the same time many in the church today are satisfied with coloring pages, cartoon videos and yet another superficial telling of Bible stories as the sum total of their child’s Christian education.
Consider just a few of George Barna’s findings regarding the grades the church and parents are getting in their task of helping children grow spiritually.
- 72% of parents say they’re doing well in providing spiritual experience and instructions to their children, yet only 10% of church households spend any time at all during a typical week reading the Bible or praying together.”
- “Most churches have very simple but ultimately debilitating descriptions of success: growing numbers of students enrolled, consistent attendance, completion of the curriculum in the allotted time, parental satisfaction, and minimal discipline problems.”
We’ve been better
This is not what the church of Christ throughout history has been about.
The West Minster Shorter Catechism was completed in 1647 with one of its chief uses being the education of children. This is no lightweight document. With such questions as “What do the scriptures principally teach?” and “What offices does Christ execute as redeemer?” I wonder how many adults in the church would be completely stumped. If only we as the Church would return to that standard for excellence. What a difference it would make in the lives of our children and in our congregations. Wouldn’t it strike fear into the heart of our old adversary to see that the Church of Jesus had not abandoned the battle for the hearts of the children? That our children were fully armed with GOD’s spiritual armor? I can almost feel the darkness tremble just at the thought.
So what is it exactly that the church has forgotten and needs to remember? We’ll get to that next time.