Many years ago at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, John Piper presented a sermon series titled “Education for Exultation.” In one particular sermon he focused on Psalm 145:4,
One generation shall praise your works to another, And shall declare your mighty acts.
In the sermon he stated the following important reminder,
Foundational to all our ministry to children and young people is that God’s ordinary way of shaping children into radically committed, risk-taking, countercultural, wise, thinking, loving, mature, world Christians is through parents who teach and model a God-centered, Bible-saturated worldview to their children. Why do we start with that conviction? Because Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up….”
The Biblical pattern is for parents, especially fathers, not to relinquish their role as the primary teachers and shapers of their children’s mind and heart – not even to the church. The Biblical pattern is for parents to impart to their children a God-centered, Bible-saturated vision for all of life.
But his next point was the important role that the church plays in partnering with parents. He then gives 5 practical reasons:
1) Some children don’t have believing parents;
2) some single parent homes are so stressed and overworked that they need all the help they can get;
3) there is a whole range of competencies in moms and dads that may need supplementing in the world the way it is (if not the way it should be);
4) even the best home-teaching will benefit from reinforcement in a corporate setting; and
5) some aspects of God’s character may be caught better in a larger corporate setting than at home.
These are important words to keep in mind. Let’s not partake of the “Home vs. Church Wars.” Parents, let’s acknowledge and humbly accept the equipping power of the church. Church, let’s proclaim and affirm the primary role of parents, and then do all we can to assist them.