It is such a blessing to have the opportunity to raise children. This is true of both believers in Christ and people that do not have a relationship with God. But if you are a person of faith, it is so important to pass on a spiritual heritage that your kids can pass on to their kids. The 10 tips that I picked for this article are certainly not a complete list but were things that I believe are essential to raising your kids in a Christian way. They are not necessarily in order of importance but consider the following.
1. Put Christ first in your life
This is, of course, easier said than done. However, we always have to be aware that we are teaching kids all of the time. What I mean is that even when we are sitting in front of the TV, we are teaching them something (Such as what we consider funny or appropriate or interesting). When we raise our children, they must see us consistently putting Christ first in everything we do including our time (put Christ first on Sunday’s…not sports or travel plans) and our money (teach and show your kids that you give to the local ministry of the church).
2. Model what a Christian should look like
The Bible speaks about how God is Holy and encourages us to be Holy too. We will never be perfect as Christ was but being holy doesn’t mean perfection (like Jesus is) but more of a “set apart” meaning. We are to be different than the outside world. People should be able to notice that we believe in Jesus Christ. Not because we are proud and pious like the Pharisees standing on the street corners to pray but our friends and neighbors should be able to tell we are different by how we act and interact with each other and with the world. Our marriages should be different (sadly the divorce rate is not always much different in the church as outside the church) as we follow the example of Christ. He loved His bride (the church) and laid down His life for it. Our children will certainly know that we are not perfect but they should know that we are authentic (real both in our daily lives and the same on Sunday morning).
3. Make family a priority
Our relationship with God comes first, our commitment to our family comes next, and our dedication to our work is third. Our family should be a priority. This sounds simple but Christians often struggle in this area as we get busy trying to love others so much that some times, we neglect our family at home. I know this is a struggle for many ministers in the church (including me). There is always something to be at… or someone to go talk to…or a meeting to attend…or a group to lead. We must all understand that our family must be a priority if we are to have a healthy relationship with God. Your children will be able to tell if they are indeed a priority or not.
4. Teach your children the Bible and about God
Having your children learn the Bible and about God must come from you as parents. Sure the church is a great help in this but don’t neglect your duty and responsibility to teach your children about God. The church is a great source for this as well but it must start first with us as parents.
5. Make sure you are connected to a church
You and your children need to be connected to a church. It is part of our life blood as Christians to be connected with other believers. This is so important to your children too as they will usually have other friends outside the church that are not raised in a Godly way and can be bad influences in their lives. Other Christian children will not be perfect certainly but will often have a much better value system than those outside of the church. Some parents feel it is adequate to just drop off their kids at church as they go home and sleep a little more. This is a bad message for your children and they will quickly see through this. If it is not important enough for you to stay, your kids will feel it is not that important for them to stay either.
6. Regularly attend a church
This one is somewhat connected to the tip before but I feel it needs to be emphasized. Far too many Christians are in the habit of calling themselves Christians but living their lives for themselves. I am not trying to be judgmental but I believe what God’s word says in Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” It is important that we teach our children that we get together with the family of God to worship God as a group.
7. Encourage your children to have Godly influences in their lives
This can come in the form of aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, and other believers. Encourage your children to not only see and hear God through your life but also through others that know and love the Lord. This will give them a bigger perspective and show them that it is important to know and worship God.
8. Pray regularly with and for your children
Prayer is important for all believers. Prayer time in the home will be another teaching time for your children. It will teach them that you believe it is important to pray to God before meals (thanking God for our daily provisions). But it will also teach them on a regular basis that you believe there is a God that wants to talk with you and have a relationship with you. This is so important as they grow older and reach adulthood and decide if it is important for them to continue on this belief in God. If you don’t pray much with and for your children, you will be modeling something for them that will hinder their faith development.
9. Serve others with your child/children
The Bible teaches constantly that we, as Christians, are to be people that our servers. Christ himself came and He served others while He walked this earth. We need to be serving people too. I encourage you to find projects in which you can serve God with your child. Even if they are very young and can’t help too much there are still things such as ringing a Salvation Army Christmas bell…helping an older person that has some basic needs (picking up groceries or changing a light bulb or other needs). Be creative. The important thing is that your child understands that life is not just all about us. We live this life with an eye on the next life. Life is about more than our own personal satisfaction and is about others and is most importantly, about God.
10. Share your faith with others around your children
The Great Commission passage in Matthew 28 is for all of us. Matthew 28:18-20 says, “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Sharing your faith in front of your children will teach them that it is okay to talk about God with other people. We love them so much that we want them to spend eternity with God and us too. This is another important part of your child’s development into becoming a young man or young woman of faith.
This list could certainly go on and on. I hope this gives you some ideas about how to invest in the lives of