By Wanda Parker,
Last week I began blogging (click here) in regard to the book “Essential Church?” This book is a must read for anyone working with children and/or youth.
“Certain absolutes found within Scripture are so crucial that a Christian should be willing to sacrifice his or her life for them.” Page16
Wow! Powerful and so true. These truths and this type of commitment should be taught from the time the child enters the nursery. It isn’t taught with words at that stage but through the commitment of the adults.
Do adults in your church give up their wants so that the children of your church have adults committed to walk through life with them?
Where do parents spend the most time with their kids? On the soccer field or in the church? From where parents spend their time what are the kids learning is important to mom and dad? Why are kids leaving the church in droves? Probably one important reason is because moms and dads have taught them through their actions that everything but church is important.
Below is an excerpt from the White Paper on Competition and Emotional Development click here to read entire paper
From the time my own children were infants, I have prayed asking the Lord to teach me how to raise my children up to be godly adults. I felt totally inadequate but the Lord found varying means to teach me.
Joe, my husband, was on staff with Open Doors with Brother Andrew when our children were in early elementary school. As part of Joe’s ministry, we were part of a team sent to take Bibles into China. While in Hong Kong, we met a family who had only recently escaped from China.
The mother of the family told us the story of her family while her eldest surviving son translated for her. In the mid-1960’s during the Cultural Revolution, the Red Guard had come to their home and wrenched their four children from the home. The Red Guard had set up a bench in front of their home and made the four children, ages 11, 10, 6 and 3, sit on the bench. They called all the neighbors to come watch what was about to take place.
Then the soldiers went from child to child asking if he loved Jesus. When the child responded, “Yes, I love Jesus,” the soldier would hit the child in the face, knocking him to the ground. The soldiers went to each child several times, but the oldest, Steven, got beaten over and over because he refused to renounce Jesus.
Finally the soldiers turned from the children to attack the parents. Stephen crawled into their home and lay down on his mat. Daniel, the 10-year-old followed him in and knelt beside him.
“Don’t tell mama but I’m dying Daniel I’m dying.” The 11–year-old declared.
Just then Mama came and knelt beside her son her head had been shaved. “Mama, mama, I’m dying. Mama, I’m dying. Mama, you have to forgive them. Mama, you have to forgive them.” Then lifting his hand toward heaven, he cried out, “I see Jesus, Mama. I see Jesus.” And he was gone.
I looked at this woman who had just told me the story of her eleven year old son whom she had watched be beaten to death and there was a peace on her face. “Mama, how do you raise a child so that at the age of 11, he will not renounce Jesus, though he be beaten to death?” I quietly asked.
She looked me in the eye and she said, “There are three things you must do.”
“From the time your child is born, you must teach him that he must never renounce Jesus nor another Christian. Your life might be dependent on that other believer.”
“Secondly, you must pray sacrificially for your children. That means you are praying so much for your children that you are giving up things you want to do for yourself because you are praying for your children.”
I will never forget the little chuckle she gave before she continued, “Thirdly, and this is hardest for you in the West. You must let your children suffer. They will never grow strong if they don’t suffer. If there is nothing natural that causes suffering in their life, then create a reason for them to suffer.”
I was so excited when I got home. These sounded like such good sound principles to follow. I could hardly wait to share these principles with my friends. The first person with whom I shared was a close friend and she wept as I shared Mama’s story.
When I was finished, my friend looked at me and said, “But Wanda, if my children suffer, then I will suffer and I don’t want to suffer.
It was one of those “ah-ha” moments of life. How much of our parenting, how much of our nurturing of children is about what makes me feel good rather than what the child really needs?
This made me realize that as adults we must constantly look at what each child’s real need is. We must be careful to not do what makes us feel good, nor what makes him feel good today, but is harmful for his future.
Healthy nurturing of children will often cause adults to feel uncomfortable, cause adults to suffer. (For a tragic story of adults’ faulty-reasoning in providing comfort today but long term pain in a child’s life, go to the KidTrek White Paper on Secondary Nurturers. http://kidtrek.org/white/
God’s command to us in Deuteronomy 6:7 & 8 tells us how to raise up children.
“You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.”
In verse 4 we read, “O Israel,” this wasn’t a command to just the parents but to the entire nation. The entire church is responsible to live out Deuteronomy 6 with the children in the church.
Is your church intentionally doing this? Check out the curriculum here that gives you the tools to not only disciple the children in your church but also their parents. CLICK HERE
I am now blogging on Children’s Ministry at Kidtrek: Sunday Plus. I will continue blogging on Christian After School Ministries here.
What kind of Children’s Ministry does your church have? Click here