As we think about our kids being disciples, when kids finish 5th grade, we would like them to know and be able to live into the following:
1) Know they are God’s kid and he loves them no matter what. (Covenant triangle and baptism)
It’s a comforting thing to know that your parents are your parents, and that they love you no matter what. Many children and teenagers don’t have this luxury, but even when humans fail, our Father God in heaven does not.
I remember a statement I heard from my youth pastor growing up:
“I’ll always love you no matter what. There’s nothing you can do to make me stop loving you.”
I like that… it reminds me a lot of what God REALLY does!
2) Know that they represent their dad and are part of his grand adventure to put the world back together. (Kingdom triangle)
Not only do we belong to God, but we are a part of the family business! Hopefully we (as parents and spiritual mentors) can model and help guide these young hearts toward participating in God’s work in this world and the “grand adventure to put the world back together!”
3) Be able to pray confidently and see things happen as a result.
Teaching your children to pray is vital. Showing your kids how to pray is even better. Having your children catch you praying early in the morning when no one is looking… now that is a parent who believes in the power of prayer!
Children, and arguably adults as well, need to see concrete, tangible results of prayer. We need to talk about the answers to prayer that happen and celebrate them. But we also need to persevere in prayer, even when we don’t see things happen as a result.
4) Have balance in their relationships (God, God’s family, those who don’t know him yet) (Triangle)
I think this is something we all struggle with doing well. But something our children need to learn from our example.
5) Natural rhythm of rest and work (Semi-Circle)
Repeat: I think this is something we all struggle with doing well as well. But something our children need to learn from our example.
6) Love of scripture and the story of Jesus
Read the Bible. You need to do this yourself. You need to do it with your kids. Enter into the world of Scripture and the stories of our redemptive and restoring God. Tackle the life, miracles, teachings, and events in the life of Jesus.
I’ve been around church and the stories of the Bible since I was little. That’s over 30 years! I teach the stories of the Bible every week in my job, and I don’t get tired of them in the least… and, honestly, I’m almost always convicted and challenged by the writings of Scripture as I teach them. It’s incredible how the Bible continues to teach no matter how many times you’ve read it or heard it.
7) Hearing God’s voice and seeing him at work in their lives (Circle)
8) Feel comfortable and even encouraged to ask questions about their faith
I think dynamic faith is an examined faith; one that is tested and continually questioned and re-answered and studied and approved! I love asking God the tough questions! We need to allow our children to ask God the tough questions, too.
Parents of teenagers: Your high school students are going to frustrate you with their questions and challenging of the faith. Don’t be threatened or worried about their questioning. Engage them. Walk alongside of them and help them find answers, or at least try to continue to steer them toward God’s answers.
What else would you add to the list?
Your thoughts, critique and questions are welcome in the comments below!