Austin Whiteout Wallace made his Graystone debut with a great rap performance of Fresh Prince’s “Parents Just Don’t Understand”. He capped it off with a backflip off the front of the stage. I would say that this got everyone’s attention and lightened the mood for my message: “I Want Better Kids”. It was the first rap song performed at Graystone but certainly not the first backflip. The Golden Rams did several during our Training Camp message series in August.
If kids come to church every Sunday morning and once during the week (I.e. GSM), that makes up 1% of their time. With that 1% of time, we are highly committed to having the best student and children’s ministry possible. In fact, over 50% of our full-time staff serve in the area of Family Ministry, and we are aggressively teaching the kids the word of God and equipping the parents to do likewise.
Since we only have your kids 1% of their time, the responsibility of a child’s spiritual growth and development falls on his/her parents. If you want better kids, you have to be a better parent.
I pointed out Sunday that Ephesians 6:4 addresses specifically that the father’s role is to “bring up his kids in the training and instruction of the Lord”. So Dad, you have been given one very clear Biblical instruction in regards to parenting. Are you doing it? Is it your number one focus in training your kids? How are you doing it? Do you have a spiritual growth plan for your kids? Do you have one for yourself?
Moms, I think the command from Scripture applies to you as well even though Paul was specifically addressing the fathers. If you read the passage in context, children are to obey and honor their parents and parents are to keep the family centered and focused on Jesus Christ.
Isn’t it interesting that God would list “children obey your parents” as one the 10 Commandments? It is the 5th Commandment and it comes with a promise. Children obeying their parents is so HUGE that God lists it in His top 10. This also speaks to the importance of the family structure and the priority of parenting.
But as I said Sunday, if you want to be a great parent, it starts with having a great marriage.
Now, what about all you single moms and dads out there? Raising kids as a husband and wife team is tough enough. I know that it is extremely hard as a single parent, and I pray God’s special grace on you. Let me encourage you to lean hard on God and His bride, the church. Graystone is here to love, support and help you any way we can. And secondly, let me encourage you to remarry. Of course, your new spouse would need to be a committed Christian and have your same beliefs, purpose and values. So, no matter how old you are, be open to God bringing that prince or princess into your life. In fact, I am specifically praying for some of you to marry and remarry. Hey, you have to do your part and let God do His part. I will leave it at that.
OK parents, you need to take back control of the family. It is best for you and it is best for your kids. Your 2 year old daughter… 9 year old son…14 year old daughter… or 18 year old son does not know what is best for him or her. God, the Father, knows best and has placed you in leadership over them. You are there to love, protect, provide, teach, train, discipline, development, and eventually let go.
The goal is that your kids would one day leave their father and mother and cleave to their new spouse. By the way, children are to obey their parents until they have left their parents and are independent from them. A child has not fully left his or her parents if he/she is still depending on the parents physically, emotionally, or financially. Part of parenting is to slowly “let out the rope” giving your child independence at various level along the way. (BTW, a first step in letting out some rope is leaving your kids in the nursery at church. I know this is hard for some parents, but it is best for the kids and you. You do not want to have the rope tied so tightly around their neck that you are choking them out.) Parents, you have to learn to slowly give your kids some slack in the rope. Then, when they are ready (hopefully sooner than later), you fully let go of the rope and PRAY!
I loved the end of the service with Ryan singing “Find Your Wings” with kid’s pics on the screen and parents crying out to God in prayer for their kids. It was a sweet time of worship as we placed our dependence on God. There were not too many dry eyes in the house.
Well, sorry for the dissertation. See you Thursday night…Vision Night…Leadership Summit…be there or be square.