The Role You Play as Spiritual Leader in Your Home | Next Gen Blog | Church on the Hill

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The Role You Play as Spiritual Leader in Your Home

May 9, 2024 | Jen Kenerly

Dear Parents,

Here’s something to think about:

Your kids are going to leave you someday! 

As hard as that may be to imagine now, it’s true. You are the single, greatest influence in the life of your child.  Beyond the day-to-day tasks of caregiving and getting your kids all the places they need to go, lies a deeper responsibility to nurture the spiritual growth of your children. 

When my son was three, a waitress offered him a free ice cream cone after our Sunday lunch. Letting him enjoy it until the last moment, I had planned to toss the cone as I was buckling him into his car seat. Except, that’s not what happened. He turned away from me and now had a drippy cone in my brand new Tahoe. His dad began to say, “Son, give your mom the cone.” I climbed into the car and turned around to face him offering him my open hand. He did what is father asked and gave me the cone….right in my face! I was in complete shock. 
Should we laugh or be angry? One thing we knew for certain was that we did not want a 16-year-old who was still shoving ice cream in my face when he did not get his way. 

Now, let's unpack all of this.

Four foundational principals that can help you navigate leading your home spiritually:

  1. Needing Godly Wisdom

    As parents, you face countless decisions, big and small, that impact the lives of your children and families. In these moments, lean on the wisdom that is found in God’s Word. Not the kind that shifts from generation to generation or that is trending on your feeds. Take a look at Proverbs 24:3-4 in the Amplified, “Through skillful and godly wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family, built, and by understand it is established (on a sound and good foundation), and by knowledge---shall its chambers (of every area)—be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  

    We need the kind of wisdom that comes from The One who wants the best for us and for our kids; The One who never changes. Ask God for it!  James 1:5 tells us He will give it generously without finding fault. If you come across helpful resources in your journey, be sure they are grounded in God’s Word.

  2. Beginning with the End in Mind

    Your child’s 18th birthday marks 6,570 days of his life, 936 weeks, or 216 months. Your time is limited. Wisdom teaches us that when we aim at nothing we reach it every time. As busy parents, it’s easy to forget that we are parenting now for the relationship we want to have with our kids in 10 or 20 years. Who do you hope your child will become? What is important for your family dynamic (now, and in the future)? Referencing when Jesus was a child, Luke 2:52 gives an excellent place to begin (wisdom, stature, favor with God, and favor with man).  

    When you define what you are aiming for, you can create a framework through which to guide your kids and spend your time. What you say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to will even become easier as you align decisions with your long-term goals.

  3. Influencing from a Place of Relationship

    My mother loves to remind me that rules without relationship equals rebellion. As parents, we have an opportunity to walk beside our children and tenderly disciple them. Ephesians 6:4 reminds us not to irritate and provoke our children to anger (exasperate them to resentment), but rear them (tenderly) in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.  (AMP) We want to be a guide, not a general. Create opportunities for meaningful conversations where you are fully present and listening more than you speak. Show your kids they can come to you with anything.

    Remember every word you speak can be a gift. With Ephesians 4:29 in mind, speak the encouraging words your kids are craving to hear. These things lead to better relationships, and better relationships make everything better.

  4. Leveraging the Time You Have

    Now that we know how precious a commodity time is, one of the best ways to spiritually disciple our kids is to learn to leverage it well. Deuteronomy 6:5-8 shows us no matter where we are, or what we are doing, with our every breath, we should be walking in step with the Holy Spirit impressing on our kids the things of the Lord.

    With preschoolers, it looks like speaking affirmations like God Made You, God Loves You, and Jesus Wants to Be Your Friend Forever, during mealtimes, snuggle times, play times and bath times.

    With elementary students, morning times can include praying Scripture over your kids aloud while you’re driving to school or walking to the bus. It can mean using drive time to check-in with their heart and remind them they can trust God no matter what.

    With middle and high schoolers, it may mean using screen time to set up a family text to share how you see God in a reading plan you’re doing together. Use your everyday, on-the-go, moments to lead your children in their faith journey.

Being your child’s #1 spiritual influence is not adding one more thing to your schedule.

It’s not only a privilege, and gift from the Lord, it is a profound responsibility that is best supported in community.  

So as you and your children are sitting at home, walking along the road, lying down, or getting up, I pray you embrace this sacred role with grace, humility, and love. Your consistent influence during dinner, the drive home from practice, or that late night talk, extends far beyond the present, but is shaping the hearts and minds of the next generation to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and strength and love their neighbor as themselves.

Blessings on your journey,

Jen Kenerly
Director of Children’s Ministry