Spiritual Maturity: A Note to Parents [Part 4 of 4]
Part 4: Best practices
I’m a big fan of transparency. When we pretend to be something we’re not, nobody wins. So with complete disclosure, there are no "Best Practices," only strong suggestions based on experience. So what have I learned from my years in ministry and time parenting?
Get a Team
Parenting is a team sport. Don’t do it alone. It’s nice to have relatives who help, but when they’re not available—or you don’t want their availability—you need other loving, God-fearing adults who will function as relatives. There are a few families in my church that love my kids, and I thank God for them. My kids are developing strong relationships with men and women I trust, and I view them as teammates. Another teammate is a youth pastor and any additional youth workers your church might have. It’s important to note that a youth pastor is a teammate, but you are the coach. Don’t delegate your spiritual authority; instead, partner with the youth pastor and learn how you can work together to achieve the goal of spiritual maturity for your child and family.
Get a Plan
Develop a family mission statement.This is more than a document to frame and hang on a wall or file away under ‘M’ for mission (not miscellaneous). Its purpose is to remind you who you want to be and how you want to act. I made the mistake of trying to draft the perfect statement that I never got it done. Instead, I have 37 drafts on my computer...and finally gave up several years ago. Well, I’m going to try again, but this time, I’ll gather my family around the table so we can brainstorm together. Then have a family meeting once or twice a year to review it and assess how you’re doing.
Get in the Trenches
While I said there are no best practices, this comes pretty darn close. If you want to grow spiritually as a family, serve together. Seek as many shared ministry experiences as possible. Go on a missions trip together, locally and globally. Sponsor a child as a family, but have your kids contribute financially toward the cost. Teach a class together at church, visit the elderly...the list could go on and on.
Unlike gathering to review your family mission statement, this time is designed to make memories. Develop a family tradition of spiritual growth night. Circle a date on the calendar once a month and commit to doing something different each time. A handful of ideas:
- Discuss spiritual highlights and lowlights for the month.
- Make a video, recreating your favorite Bible story.
- Have a worship night, where each family member gets to play his/her favorite worship song or favorite song by a Christian artist. Family member then shares why that song is meaningful.
- Have a family member teach on his/her favorite Bible verse and share why it’s meaningful.
- Discuss top moments from church or other groups/classes from the previous month.
Get an Education
There are more print and media resources today than ever. Don’t try to read them all. Not only will it be impossible, but quite overwhelming. But do pick one or two books a year you can flip through to hear what other voices have to say.
Parents, we can do this. The One voice that really matters, God’s Spirit, has empowered us and equipped us. We just need to take a new step each day, as well as be willing to get up when we fall. We all know parenting is hard, but it’s both a blessing and a responsibility. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Praying with you.