We will not hide these truths from our children:
We will tell the next generation
About the glorious deeds of the Lord,
About his power and his mighty wonders.
Families can be intimidated by the task of raising their children to love and honour the Lord. Many do not have a role model to follow that gives them guidance about how to do it. While they may have good intentions, they will admit that the spiritual development of their children is not very intentional in their homes.
The church calendar provides a way for the local church to encourage families in this task. By providing simple tools and some guidance families can adapt these for use in their own homes. By starting to do intentional spiritual training around Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, East and Pentecost they can teach their children the basics of the Christian faith.
Last Easter Stanley Park Baptist Church provided craft kits to families of young children with the pieces in it to make the wall hanging depicted. We included a list of Bible readings that corresponded with each picture. The family could either use a Bible Story book to read the story to small children or they could read the story from the Bible for older children. The readings took the family from Palm Sunday to the Ascension. After reading the story and praying with their children they were encouraged to put the picture on the wall hanging.
Similar things can be done at other times of the year. The key is to make it simple and to assure families that they can fit it into their lives as it makes sense for them. Resist the urge to tell parents that their family has to have family devotions a certain way or at a certain time to be successful.
To make this work, families should have a good age-appropriate Bible Story book and Bible in their homes. I believe that this should be provided by the church if families are unable to afford them. Just as the Puritan pastor, Richard Baxter, made sure that the Word of God and a copy of the catechism was in each home, I think that we should ensure that no family is deprived of a way to teach their children about the Lord.
As we encourage families to read God’s Word and pray with their children at special times of the year, we communicate the value of these spiritual disciplines and hope that they will become part of regular life in each home.
Jan Mutter serves as Pastor of Family Discipleship at Stanley Park Baptist Church.