"And you must think constantly about these commandments I am giving you today. You must teach them to your children and talk about them when you are at home or out for a walk; at bedtime and the first thing in the morning." - Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (TLB)
*Friends, please understand that I am not writing this post to accuse anyone. Rather, to challenge ideas.
There is no doubt about it - parents want the best for their children. They want their children to grow up well-adjusted, happy, healthy, and successful. What good parent doesn't?
I am a childless woman myself. In fact, there is a likelihood that I am unable to have any children at all. I don't often talk about this - mainly because I get a lot of sympathy, or people telling me "I'm still so young." The fact of the matter is, I am coming up on thirty faster than I want to be. My husband and I have been married for nearly six years. Not once in those six years of marriage have we done any kind of birth control of any sort. Yet, we are still without a baby.
But Friends, I am truly okay with this fact. Honestly. I am very happy with the blessings I have been given from God - which are many. Children just don't happen to be in God's plan for us yet (or, possibly ever.) And I am okay with that.
Nonetheless, I am finding that as I get older, more and more adult Christians are shying away from content, people, podcasts, and articles that don't talk about children. And I totally understand why. Christian couples want content that talks about children, since most couples my age either already have children, want children, or are at least thinking about wanting children. These couples desire topics that help them through certain issues involving kids. They want subject matter that encourages them to continue raising well-adjusted children, which is completely understandable!
The fact is, I have never felt called to work on ministries that involve children, and I am not ashamed of this fact. Though I very much believe that children's ministry is extremely important, God hasn't personally laid it on my heart. Rather, he has laid adults on my heart who are struggling in their Christian walks, their faith, or their marriages.
I truly want to be a light to adults who are struggling in their faith-walks. But I have recently been feeling like there is no place for me as I continue in this ministry. Especially when I see so many popular blogs, ministries, podcasts, and programs geared towards children and Mamas. Christian content geared only towards adult faith is some of the most unpopular stuff out there.
Dear Parents, that shouldn't be the case.
I am writing this post to argue that adult, Christian content geared towards adult faith is (I believe) just as important for parents to consume as Christian content geared towards children.
The fact of the matter is (as harsh as this sounds), you cannot raise well-adjusted, faithful children if you are not well-adjusted and faithful yourself.
That is why I feel so sad when I see adults that only start going to church after their kids are born. These parents want faith for their children, but they don't really want it for themselves. That is why there is such a significant decrease in childless adults ages 18-35 that attend church. (I know this for a fact. I run a college and career group for ages 18-30, and it is one of the smallest-attended ministries in my church, and has been in every church I've ever attended.) The fact is, these younger adults don't typically attend church. They have better things to do. But once their children are born, suddenly church becomes necessary, because they want it only for their kids.
The problem with this is, children know exactly what their parents are doing. Those children know that their parents are insincerely going to church for the sole purpose of wanting them to go. This behavior is teaching those children that church really isn't all that important. If it's not important to the parent, why should it be to the child?
So what if, instead of only wanting church or faith-based content geared towards children, parents started consuming faith-based content geared towards their own faith-walk? What if they started attending church for their own growth? How might this change their expectations for their children?
Perhaps, instead of only hoping for their children to become well-adjusted, faithful adults, parents would start becoming well-adjusted, faithful adults themselves! Thus, they would begin trail-blazing the way for their children to follow them down the same faith-path!
Friend, I write this post to challenge you to become the person you want your children to be. Become the person who is on fire for God, so that your kids can be too. Become the person who is in love with your spouse, so that your children understand healthy, marriage relationships when they get older. Become the person who respects others, so that your children can build awesome, godly character towards other people.
This is why I am working on a brand-new project. It is a project geared towards both children and parents. It will be an excellent way for parents to take the lead and show their children that faith is important to them.
This project is a Seven Day, "Mommy and Me" Easter Coloring Devotional. It is a set of two intricate coloring books with devotionals, questions, and coloring pages. One book will be an adult devotional coloring book, and the other book will be a simpler, side-by-side, children's devotional coloring book. The two books will interact with each other, as the parents become the faith leaders and teach the Bible devotionals as the children color along. It is a perfect way for parents to do a faith-based activity with their children, as they go through the story of Jesus and the week leading up to His death and resurrection.
Though I don't typically feel called to children's ministry, I do feel called to ministry that involves growing faith in adults - and this includes parents. That is why I have decided to go ahead with this new project geared towards both children and adults. Because God tells us that parents need to first live faithfully, and then teach their children to do the same. Deuteronomy states, "And you must think constantly about these commandments I am giving you today. You must teach them to your children and talk about them when you are at home or out for a walk; at bedtime and the first thing in the morning." - Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (TLB)
Become the person you want your child to be.