During a sermon from a couple weeks ago I had this brief sidebar – a tiny sermon within a sermon, if you will. Give it a listen (it’s only 2 minutes long!):
Basically it is an admonition for parents, but especially Dads, to teach their children the Bible and the basic doctrines of Christian faith. It was a bit of a tangent but it is basically Ephesians 6:4. Experience can’t be passed on to the next generation but the content of the Faith can and must be. This is a daunting task but so important. If you are a Dad and not feeling the challenge of this then you haven’t heard. This challenge means a few things:
First, you can’t leave it to pastors, youth leaders, Sunday School, or Veggie Tales to teach your kids the faith. All those things are great but you can’t pass the buck to anybody. One hour of Sunday School a week will never be enough. Our children have been entrusted to us by God and they need serious discipleship in our homes.
Second, you don’t know enough to do it. Don’t be discouraged by that. I’m a pretty well-trained Bible and Theology guy but talking, praying, and reading the Bible with my 3-and-a-half year old pushes me like no other teaching challenge. It drives me into Scripture and meditation like nothing else. Small children ask such good questions!
Third, you need help. It didn’t feel quite right issuing this challenge to my congregation without some backup. So here’s some stuff to look at. *This post is mainly to resource my own congregation by the way*
The What, When, and How of Family Worship, an article by Jason Helopoulos. This is some practical tips for helping make regular times of reading and prayer happen.
Pastor Dad, a free ebook by Mark Driscoll. This book can help you get a picture for the responsibility Dads have for their family’s faith.
Leading Family Worship, a conference talk by Joel Beeke. This talk lays out a pretty lofty vision for family instruction and worship. If you listen to it, be warned! Beeke’s description is a very high ideal – the reality is probably much more faltering and imperfect than this. It’s a little like wanting to serve the poor and then looking at Mother Theresa! If you listen to this than my fourth and last point is very important to read…
Fourth, you have to have grace for yourself. To imagine yourself leading Bible instruction and prayer with your kids is pretty daunting. If the picture you form in your mind seems impossible to achieve (like Beeke’s) just remember to go easy on yourself. Sometimes trying to do everything off the hop can be paralyzing. Trust God, celebrate the small things. and pray for your kids.