Parents Lead but it Takes a Village…
“It takes a Village.” Probably an overused quote but very applicable in the world of parenting. As many of you know I believe the Bible clearly points to parents as the primary faith trainers in the lives of children. However, parents are not alone and do not bear the sole burden of spiritual formation according to the Scriptures.
Let’s revisit a well known tenet of our faith. 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.’”
Who among us are disciple makers? Just parents?
We live in an unprecedented season of a Holy Spirit influenced “balancing.” For years in practice the church has monopolized discipleship. Lately Christian leadership at the local church level has experienced an reawakening to the ancient path of spiritual formation as stated in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Whereas once we were unbalanced in our practice of discipleship, God is leading us to a more biblical model of spiritual formation. A 24/7 approach in which the family takes the lead.
There is a danger here. As is typical with moves of God, eventually we get our hands on it. There is potential for us, in our obsession with extremes, to swing hard the other way making an idol of family. It is really not one or the other. Biblically it is both. The best formula for spiritual formation is Dt. 6 + Mt. 28:18-20.
We are all disciple-makers according to the words of Jesus. It does not matter if we are married, single, parents, grandparents, emptynesters, or college students. We are all disciple-makers if we truly are followers of Christ. ( I define Christ-follower as one whose life is patterned after the Word and model of Jesus.)
As a parents Angela and I realize we need help. We need other people to speak into our kids’ lives as they begin to own their faith. We need children’s ministry leaders, student leaders, and volunteer ministry leadership to help us as we seek to make disciples of our own children. We need Christian teachers and coaches to model Christ for them. There will come a day, likely, that for whatever reason our kids can not hear from us. In that moment it will take a village. It will take community. It will take the body of Christ working together for the spiritual formation of our children.
When you think about family ministry shoot for the Biblical balance. That balance answers a lot of your strategy questions. Even Deuteronomy 6 was typically lived out in community. We were designed for community by a God who knows what we need.
As a parent, don’t go it alone. Surround your family with people who love God, love people, and desire to help you make disciples of your children. We are all in this together. It truly takes a village!