“What are your kid’s standing appointments?”
This year, on Resurrection Sunday, this question entered my mind as I watched a record number of faces in our children’s choir sing. While it was a tremendous joy to see God’s truth pass through their lips, it was also sobering to realize that these children need more than one Sunday per year to celebrate a living, relevant Savior. They desperately need spiritual consistency modeled before them week in and week out by their parents, teachers, and pastors.
Dr. Mike Norris recently stated, “For the longest time, I thought faithfulness had died in our culture. I was so wrong. Faithfulness has not died; it has been misplaced. Every single person on this earth is faithful to something. The problem with our faithfulness is the object of our faithfulness.”
I observe some troubling trends in American Christianity that should greatly concern all of us. Among many Christian parents is a tendency to give priority to schooling, family functions, work responsibilities, extracurricular interests and even just convenience over personal relationship with Jesus Christ and His local church ministry. While these events all have benefit to our children, we cannot exhibit more consideration for them than God-given appointments. Nothing undermines and erodes the truth of God in the heart of a child like the unfaithfulness of their parents. Parents, please do not underestimate your influence in the future of your children!
May I first identify what I am NOT saying:
- Spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, and witnessing are not enough if only mechanical.
- Church attendance, involvement, and giving are not enough if only external.
- Policing the do’s and don’ts alone will not produce the next generation of committed Christians.
The word standing, when used as an adjective, refers to “continuing without cessation or change, lasting or permanent, continuing in operation”. How does each of us evaluate the quality of our children’s continuing and lasting appointments? While my accusations as an outsider may harden your will, your honest but tough questions allow God to stir the conscience of your home.
What would be the “uncoached” response of your children to the following questions:
- How often do you see your daddy and mommy read their Bible and pray?
- When is the last time your family has talked about Jesus Christ to a complete stranger?
- Where do you expect to be on Sundays and Wednesdays?
- When is the last time you have shaken hands with your Pastor?
- What do your parents do when the offering plate is passed in church?
- What is a valid reason to miss a church service?
- What does your family do to support and pray for missionaries? What are their names and where are they serving?
- Who/What are the most important things to your family? What evidence do you have?
Prior to the challenge to assemble together, the writer of Hebrews challenges us, “Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works” (He. 10:24). Considerate parents have their children in the Word, in prayer, in church, and in ministry-no exceptions! In your family, you will reap a harvest where you sow an emphasis. What I am saying is that our children will only internalize our commitments, not our token “Easter Sunday” nods toward the Lord. Let’s be honest; many of our excuses for unfaithfulness are not only weak but recklessly foolish. For the faith of your children and the future of the local church, will you ask the hard questions and answer with Christ-honoring consistency this week?