This month I am the teacher for our youth group program on Sunday nights. This job always turns my focus to our teens and their spiritual life. Each week I am excited to see God working in the lives of our young people in ways even they never imagined.
I am also keenly aware that my words have little impact on these young people compared to their parents. My one or two hours a week are insignificant compared to the number of hours that parents spend with their kids.
I also know that many parents have no idea what kind of impression they are making on their children. So here are a couple of important questions to ask that will help you to assess your influence.
1. Do you have a time each day or each week to teach your children about God?
Do you have any intentional plan to teach them the things of God?
2. Do you model the importance of faith in your own life?
Do your kids see you going to Church, attending a Bible study, reading the scripture, or learning from Christian literature? Much more will be absorbed by what they see than what they hear.
3. Do you encourage your child in Christian relationships?
Every child needs the support and encouragement of another believer to live a life of faith. Do you have any plans to connect them with other Christian teens?
4. Are your children exposed to Christian role models?
My youth group leaders pointed me the right direction with their lives and their words. It is important to have another adult with a Christian influence in the life of your child to whom they are not related.
5. Do you model and encourage Christian service?
Nothing grows your faith quite like serving other people in the name of Jesus. Do your children see you stretching your faith to serve other people? I also believe no one is ever too young to be giving their time in the service of the Lord in some small way. It will grow their faith as they see themselves not just as a taker, but also a giver.
Every year I have conversations with parents who are shocked by the lack of faith in their adult children. In almost every case I know there was a lack of concentrated effort on teaching their child the things of God. Many times, I could have told them what was going to happen years before as I observed little Christian instruction in the home or beyond.
Let me encourage anyone who influences the life of a child. Ask the big questions now and don’t wait until our children are adults to start trying to teach them faith.