Saturday, November 5, 2016

How to Raise Children for God

by Gregory A. Johnson 
How to Raise Children for God, by Gregory A. Johnson

Our children are both adults now. They have brought much joy and encouragement to Becky and me. It seems like it was yesterday that they were born—time sure does go fast. Both Austin Gregory and Kelsey Ann have matured to be good and hard-working young adults. I believe they both will have positive impacts upon society, being model citizens of God’s Kingdom.

The best advice I can give to parents today is to raise your children under the influence of the church. With all of its imperfections, the church is still the finest place to raise children. Becky and I raised our children in church. Not only did they grow up in the front row of the sanctuary, but we also included them in the ministry.

Austin was two years old when Kelsey was born, and I was preaching revivals and ministering as a fill-in pastor within the district in which I was credentialed. Many times I would be contacted by the district superintendent to preach at one church Sunday morning and then drive hundreds of miles across the state to preach at another church on Sunday evening. Becky and the children always went with me. Many times we left the house before sunrise to get to the Sunday morning church, drive all afternoon to get to the Sunday evening church, and drive home after the service, arriving after midnight. It was a challenge, but we went together as a family and ministered. Many of the churches were small and could not pay us anything. Many did not have nurseries. From behind the pulpit, I would see Becky in the front row with Austin by her side and Kelsey in her arms. We did this for a couple of years before pastoring our own church.

Kelsey was two and Austin was four years old when we pastored our first little church. On our first Sunday, we had six people in service—four of them were us!

From mission trips and city outreaches to shut-in and hospital visitations, we included our children in point-of-need ministry as they grew. We went to church together, and we ministered together, both inside and outside the walls of the church building and the confines of a church service. I recommend that for all Christian homes.

Let me give you a list of my recommendation to parents:

  • Raise your children under the influence of the church.
  • Select a church that has at least one service each week when the whole body is in the service together—children, youth, young adults, and adults. It’s important that children and youth learn that the body of Christ works better as a unit rather than divided and segregated.
  • Select a church that does not discriminate regarding race, gender, or economic status.
  • Select a church that makes a difference in the community with outreach programs that minister to the marginalized in the community. It’s important that children learn that church is not just what happens within the walls of a building and the confines of a service.
  • Involve yourself and your children in ministry together, both inside and outside the walls of the church building.  
  • Let your children hear you pray and see you reading your Bible in your home.

If you follow these recommendations, I think you will be pleased by how your children turn out. They will become young adults who will utilize their lives to make a difference in their generation. Will they make mistakes? Yes, they will, but they will always return to the way that they were raised.

Beloved, raise your children under the influence of the church and involve them in point-of-need ministry beyond the boundaries of church walls and the confines of a church service. You will be glad that you did.

SCRIPTURE:
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

PRAYER:
Heavenly Father, I pray for parents today. With each generation, it gets more difficult to raise children. I ask you to lift up parents today who will raise their children under the influence of the church. Lift up parents who will be Christ-following examples to their children. Lift up parents who will involve their children in ministry, both inside and outside the walls of the church building. Lift up churches that will not divide, discriminate, separate, or segregate within the walls of their buildings, reaching out in point-of-need ministry to ALL people regardless of age, gender, race, or economic status. I pray this in Jesus’s precious name. Amen.

(The above is excerpted from the book, Be Encouraged: A Daily Devotional, Volume 3, How to Raise Children for God, by Gregory A. Johnson. Copyright © by Gregory A. Johnson. All rights reserved. For a complete list of books, visit amazon.com/author/gregoryjohnson).

Know that you are loved,
gaj


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