Yesterday’s post highlighted the importance of our children having other godly people in their lives. My husband and I did this through a variety of means, from the time our children were very young. Here are a few suggestions from Chap Bettis about how you can begin and foster this process:
Host an intergenerational Bible study…These nights were built into our schedule and created space for the children to spend time with other adults. According to one of my children, the Bible study with these other families [and singles] was an important influence in her walking with the Lord in later years. Few of these studies were dazzling. We just did life together with individuals who, though imperfect, were seeking to honor the Lord.
Capture time on Sundays. The Sunday worship gathering can be a great time to develop those informal relationships as well….Both of my sons have developed relationships with an older gentleman in our church who seeks to connect with them on a regular basis. After he catches up with them, he asks them, “How can I pray for you?” This brief conversation provides real connection…
Praise your friends in private. Sharon and I wanted to be appreciative of the role others could have in our children’s lives without giving up our own primary role. In many cases that meant praising our friends in private for things we wanted our children to admire.
(From The Disciple-Making Parent—A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Jesus Christ, copyright©2016, page 58.)
My children greatly benefited from all the above. For example, being in an intergenerational small group Bible study was an important first step. Our children began to get to know other Christian adults, beyond the more casual (but still important) interaction that happens on Sunday mornings and at other church gatherings. It also offered my husband and I a deeper glimpse into their lives, noting and encouraging relationships that would be appropriate and compatible with our values and our children’s needs.
Another suggestion is to consider having your family serve together in a specific church ministry. Our children formed many important, long-term relationships with godly men and women while serving alongside them.
As we enter this new year, consider how you and your church can better work together to foster and nurture these types of faith nurturing relationships. For your own children and the children in your church, these relationships with godly men and women can serve as one of God’s gracious means for a child’s salvation and ongoing walk with the Lord. We need the church. We need the community of the family of God!