Some time back my good friend, Neil Richey, who is the wonderful preacher for the Piedmont Road church in Marietta, Georgia, asked me to write an article for a new on-line publication he has started. By the way, for all of you preachers and any one else who might be interested, I would highly recommend you to subscribe to this publication. Neil is calling it “The Preacher’s Operator Handbook.” You can join Neil’s mailing list and read the paper here. The title of my article was, “DADDY, ENCOURAGE YOUR BOYS TO PREACH” I thought I would tweak it just a little bit and share with readers of “Thoughts from the Mound.” My prayer is that it might be helpful to you in some way.
The need for strong Christians is as great in our day as it has ever been before. The greatest encouragement for our children to live Christian lives no doubt comes from the home. Our goal in this article is to encourage parents to encourage their children. Our prayer is that these suggestions will be helpful to that end.
1. Seek to be the spiritual leader in your home. Paul instructed fathers to bring their children up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). God has always expected fathers to take the leadership in teaching and training their sons (Deuteronomy 6:1-9). There is no substitute for a man of God leading the family. Dad, allow your children to hear you read and pray. Let them see you active in the life of the church.
2. Surround your Children with strong Christians. I remember as a boy having Gus Nichols, Guy N. Woods, V.P. Black, Jack Evans, Charles Coil, Thomas B. Warren, and numerous other great preachers in our home. These men made an indelible impression upon a young boy’s life. I am thankful for a Dad who recognized the need for his sons to meet great men of God. Take your children to Gospel meetings, Lectureships, seminars, and other events where they can be exposed to great Gospel preaching. Buy them books written by and about great Christians.
3. Speak positively about the work of the church. If our children hear us bashing the church and speaking negatively about preachers they will not want to be Christians. We do not have to paint untrue pictures, but we must show our children the good in the Lord, His Church, and His preachers.
4. See that your children have opportunities to learn about the church. Many congregations offer special classes for young men to learn about public service in the church. Programs such as Lads-to-Leaders offer young men excellent opportunities to hone their skills. A growing number of congregations are offering Preacher Training Camps for young men to be associated with other young men who have an interest in preaching and to learn from older preachers (If you would like to know more about the Preacher Training Camp please feel free to contact me). These types of mentoring situations are outstanding ways for us to encourage our children.
5. Seize the time while they are young. We all know that our children are most impressionable during their formative years. While they are young and in our homes may not be the only time that their lives will be shaped, but it may well be the only chance that we have to influence them.
6. Show them how. If you are a preacher take your children with you when you make visits to hospitals, shut-ins, etc. Take them with you when you have Bible studies. This will provide not only excellent teaching opportunities it will also provide wonderful bonding time between a father and his children.
7. Support our children in the decisions they make. Our attitude should be that as long as they are faithful Christians we would be proud of them.
8. Smother them with the love of Christ regardless of what they choose to do. There are thousands of faithful children of God who are not preachers or elders. Many godly men are businessmen, teachers, coaches, etc. We should show the love and grace of God to our children in whatever they choose to do with their lives. We should not force them to be something they are not and we should not try to make them only what we want them to be.
9. Shower your children with prayer. We should pray that our children would grow to be faithful Christian leaders. We should pray that God would give us the discernment to be the right kind of examples for our children. We should pray that God would give our children wisdom to choose the proper influences when they leave home.
Dear Father in Heaven, we pray that You would raise up more faithful Christians. Help those of us who have been blessed with children to do our part in raising more faithful children of God. We thank you God for giving us precious children who are such a rich blessing to our lives. Help us to show them what it means to love You and serve You. In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.