The Mission Field in Our Home

Dave and Toby

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Recently, I got the privilege of pointing a coworker to Jesus.  God had been working on her heart, and he used me to help her overcome some intellectual hurdles into a commitment to Jesus.  It was great!  Not only was it fun to watch her open up to Jesus, but it strengthened my faith in reviewing my reasons for belief with her.  I can’t wait until God allows me to take part in that again.

My hunger to see more folks start their journey with Jesus caused me to consider how I can increase the amount of evangelism in my life.  It occurred to me that loving another child in a Christ-centered home IS evangelism. But how? Here are three things we should teach our children early on, all part of planting seeds of faith in their hearts.

Teach a child to seek the truth

Often, sharing Christ with adults means helping them conquer myths, stereotypes and lies about Jesus.  Many of these misconceptions were learned in the formative years between birth and 21 years of age.  In a home that is focused on Jesus, we can assist our kids to avoid these pitfalls by teaching them to love the truth and to commit to it at all costs.  When we teach them to think logically for themselves, they can navigate through these fallacies on their search for the truth.

As parents, we should also be prepared to tell them why we believe in Christ, and help them wrestle with any objections or questions they have, especially when we don’t have an answer.

Teach a child to avoid harmful behaviors

It has been my experience that the central thing holding many people from following Jesus is their attachment to sin.  While someone may hold numerous intellectual reasons why they reject Christ, exposing those “reasons” to light still fails to convince them.  I’m convinced that our self-centered, sin nature is the chain that prevents us from following Jesus.

I see this often in my own struggle with sin.  While we can’t train the sin nature out of children, we can help them avoid too much commitment to themselves, and work to prevent them from building patterns of sinful behavior.  By teaching them about the ugly consequences of sin, we can lessen the enticement of sin on their hearts

Teach a child to shape their life around the Kingdom of God

A life committed to Christ is discipleship.  A disciple is one who learns and imitates the teacher.  We don’t want to just make converts of our children, but rather teach them to be disciples of Christ.   A convert sometimes lacks depth and maturity, while a disciple is always increasing both of those factors.  Parenting with love requires time spent with a child and therefore, plenty of time to disciple.   Our goal is that our children, when beginning adulthood,  surpass the maturity in Christ that we had when we were 18.  Here are some trigger questions for growing disciples:

  • What did Jesus mean when he told us to take up our cross and follow Him?
  • Why did Paul and Peter refer to themselves as slaves or “bondservants” of Christ in their letter introductions?
  • Can we be a disciple of Jesus without obeying his commands?

Teaching our children about Jesus and training them for discipleship cannot guarantee that they will choose to follow Christ.  However, it makes it difficult for them to choose otherwise.  When we see our children as our mission, we can revel in the sacred task of leading them to Jesus.   What do you think?

  • http://www.apurposefullife.blogspot.com Heather

    “Our goal is that our children, when beginning adulthood, surpass the maturity in Christ that we had when we were 18.”
    This phrase really struck me! I have 2 teens that are in/entering adulthood who are both struggling with their faith. I often ask myself, “What could I have done different/better?” Sometimes when we live in a Christain environment, we assume that our kids will just automatically “get it” by osmosis or something. I think always being intentional and purposeful(discipleship) in our parenting is really key. Thank you for sharing this article.

  • Abby

    Your last paragraph got me thinking – I certainly went through a phase as a late teen / early 20s having been raised in a Christian household where I thought “this all seems a bit too much to be real”-I can certainly understand to those not raised in a Christian home to find the idea that God sent his son to Earth who died on a cross and came back 3 days later to save us from our sin as a crazy one. But you’re right – in weak times there has always been that thought about God that he is there….it is extremely hard to ignore when you have always known.
    Even now as a adult I’ve thought no way, there just isn’t a God, but He’s right there and won’t let himeself be ignored. I am raising my kids to believe in Jesus and at some point I will have to step back, as my parents did, and pray for them and hope they keep coming to church without being made to and live a Christian life and set an example by loving everyone around them by their own free will. I hope they ,like me, they fail to cast off the beliefs they’re bought up with :)

  • Darla

    The *best* thing we have done for our children in regard to their faith walk is to become part of a Church with sacraments. Having something physical to bring faith into the real-life-now (i.e., something they can literally TOUCH) is an amazing gift they have been given. Thanks for your post!