If you’re a college football fan, you know that rankings mean very little. There’s something that matters more than what some critics draw up on a marker board in ESPN’s conference room. Before the first kickoff ever happens, by looking at what coaches are drawing up on marker boards in the team’s field house. The same is true for a family. Where families have a clear and biblical strategy, success is inevitable. But when there’s no strategy, there’s no victory.
WHAT’S THE GOAL OF YOUR PARENTING?
You can tell where a society is headed and where a culture is going by looking through the prism of the family. And while God established the home long before He established the church, most families still have no goals, and their greatest strategies are simply to keep up with their neighbors. For two years, we have seen God work wonders through what we at Mobberly call: “MERGE: combining the influence of church and home.” The resources of MERGE will help you learn how to develop and implement a strategy of modeling, mirroring, & mentoring your children.
MODELING – Deuteronomy 6:4-5 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” actions are louder than words. The famous basketball player, Charles Barkley, once said, “I don’t want to be a role model.” Charles Barkley doesn’t have a choice and as parents, neither do we. Parents, we are role models to our children. Character is not taught to your children. It is caught by your children. How we live screams so loudly that many times, our kids can’t hear what we ARE saying.
I want to say particularly to fathers here, there is no substitute for a father who shows his child by the way he lives, by the language that he uses, by the places that he goes, by the television programs that he watches, by the books that he reads, that he truly fears the Lord. Professor William Frankena who teaches philosophy in the University of Michigan stated that when he was a boy, his father read at least 1 chapter from the Bible after every meal, and that they finished the Bible every year for 16 years in a row.
MIRRORING – Deuteronomy 6:6 “These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart.” It is not enough just to teach your children there is a God and that God is real, you must teach them how to have a relationship with the real God. If you don’t believe it, then you can’t teach it.
Do you know why so many church-going parents turn out children who leave the church after high school and turn their backs on Christianity? It is because many parents don’t understand the difference between being church-going parents and God-loving parents. What kind of mirror are you for the people in your life who are looking up to you? I believe we have a lot of foggy mirrors or cracked mirrors, but very few clear mirrors.
MENTORING – Deuteronomy 6:7-9 teaches us that in the planned or in the spontaneous times of life, parents can lead their kids to walk with the Lord. In one sentence Moses shows them the only thing that separates a living faith from a ritualistic orthodoxy. It’s the one word: LOVE. Moses was warning the people about the danger of passing down rules without the context of a loving relationship. His statement is more about God’s character, than God’s commands. Moses is giving a terrific parenting tip here: God designed our children as a part of God’s story. Home is the place of mentoring our decedents with what is happening in our own spiritual lives. What we discover can become what we own. Then what we own, can become what we lead others to discover. The rhythm of life provides the natural ferris wheel of discoveries.
As reported in Think Orange, the average church-going child spends:
- 40 hours a year at church. This means that church leadership, staff, and pastors have very little time to influence your children for God.
- 1000 hours a year at school – But we all know it’s not just about education (knowledge may be power but only if you know how to use it). The real education occurs at home.
- 3000 hours a year at home – No one has more time to influence your children for Christ than you. How are you going to use that time? What’s your plan? Merge is not the strategy – it’s the structure that provides the cleanest canvas to map out your own strategy. [click here for more on MERGE]
As I watched the incredible new movie, “Courageous” it made me think of Jim Elliot’s famous statement about raiding this next generation: “Children are arrows in a quiver and they are to be trained as missionaries and shot at the Devil.” (And please, go see the movie, “Courageous”!)