Parents are the best. Not only do they have the blessing of raising kids, but they also have the blessing of showing their kids how wonderful it is to follow Jesus and to have a relationship with him. Parents play a key role in the development of a kid’s faith, but we all already know that it’s a proven fact that parents are the best and play an important role in their kid’s walk with the Lord.
Parents are a child’s first pastor. It is at the home that a child sees if this concept of faith really matters beyond the four walls of a church. It is as they watch their parents lead in prayer that they will see the value of talking to and listening to God. It is as they watch their parents work through disagreements and reconcile that they will see the restorative nature of God displayed. Parents are awesome, and they are uniquely positioned by God to show his heart to the kids; here are some practical ways to parents can pastor their kids.
- Lead your kids in devotions.
Not only should your kids know that you spend time reading God’s word, but you should show them how to read the Bible. It can be confusing when one tries to read God’s word, so show them how. You can buy them a kids Bible or go through devotionals with them. I am a fan of One Big Story books such as 52-Week Bible Story Devotional, It’s All About Jesus Bible Storybook, and The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook. You are your child’s first pastor, so show them the value of spending time with the Lord.
- Have real conversations with them.
Life is hard, and they know that. Create a safe environment where they can talk to you about weightier issues without being afraid of how you’ll respond. Your child will talk to other people, so you can’t hide them from negative experiences; although, you can coach them and guide them as they walk through it. You have the ability to share God’s truth and to provide comfort as they are trying to process their issue. Have a check in with your child where they can share their experiences and feelings, and they know that mom and dad will be there for them. You are your child’s first pastor, so pastor them through the hard discussions and experiences.
- Tell them what God has done in your life.
Don’t hide your faith from your child. Let them see you praying and talking to the Lord, and tell them what you are asking God for. Tell them when God has answered your prayer, so they can see the value of pursuing the Lord. Show them the ways that God has moved in your life and how he has taken you from death to life. God has done something amazing in your life, so let your child see that the reason they have such a great parent is because of what God has done. Someday your child will be hurting, and knowing what God has done in their parents’ lives can lead to confidence that God will take care of them as they are struggling. You are your child’s first pastor, so share the testimony that God has given you.
- Have Christian community.
I know it’s a cliché, but it truly does take a village. Sometimes, parents can carry burdens because the enemy is attacking them with lies; having other Christians you can talk to will allow the light of Christ to cast out the darkness. It also gives another Godly person for your child to connect with and to get advice from, kind of like having an additional cool aunt or uncle. You are your child’s first pastor, so show them the value of having Christian community.
- Take your kid to church.
I saved this one for last because it is one of the most important things you can do. Teach your child to go to church. Sometimes church is exciting and you can’t wait to go while other times it feels like a chore to get dressed, make sure your kid is dressed, everyone is fed, brave the bad weather, and then show up at church for an hour and a half. No matter the circumstance, show your child the value of showing up to God’s house and honoring him with your time as you worship with other believers. Show them that church and spending time with the Lord comes before sports and other activities. Show them that going to church is not about pleasing oneself, but it is about pleasing God and worshiping him with other believers. You are your child’s first pastor, and you need to model for them the importance of going to church.