Parents: Don’t Train Your Kids On Your Own
by J Warner Wallace
I became a Christian when my first two children were very young. They have no memory of me prior to my conversion. But all four of my kids were raised in Christian community. I didn’t train, mentor or prepare them on my own, and you shouldn’t either. Young Christians are facing a formidable task as they get ready to enter an adult culture growingly hostile to the Christian worldview. While Christian leaders may disagree about the severity of the problem, the evidence of attrition amongst 17-30 year olds is well documented. If our kids aren’t trained and exposed to the challenges at an early age, they are far more likely to leave the Church. And while it is tempting to think we, as parents, are all our kids will ever need, this is simply untrue. Parents, don’t train your kids on your own.
Instead, seek the help available to you within the Christian community. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying parents should reassign their responsibilities to others; I believe parents have the primary duty to become good Case Makers so they can train their own children. But, there are a number of ways parents can supplement this training:
I’ll admit I’ve often been frustrated with what I’ve seen in youth ministry (hey, I was as inadequate as anyone else for the first year as a youth pastor), but if you take the time to select and support the ministry (and pastor) who will eventually mentor your child, you’ll be much happier with the result. If you’re in a situation where you don’t feel the ministry is providing everything you think is required, don’t complain about it. Instead, volunteer to lead a small group, teach a break-out session or lead a missions trip. Become a part of your church’s youth ministry.
Small Groups and Sunday School
Most mentoring is done in the context of small groups within the church. Are your kids integrated into one of these groups, and if so, does the group engage the case making topics necessary to prepare them as Christ followers? If you’re already part of a small group, consider expanding the scope of the group to include young people and the topics they need to learn. If there isn’t a group like this available in your church, start one…
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