Parents, you hold the weight of influence in your children's lives. To be honest, what I see many times happen in student's lives is just an overflow of what is happening in the home. I believe that although we are often a product of our environment, students can learn to surrender their lives to serving Christ. Leadership is caring for their soul more than their immediate happiness. I see this in many parents in the past 6-7 years of student ministry. In high school many parents decide that their child has arrived in complete spiritual maturity! Every decision is left up to their students such as church attendance, dating, money management and so forth. What many parents do is spend years and countless hours trying to help their child make the wise choice growing up and then when they become a high school student, they let go of leadership and expect their child to make the right choices. Parents, it is crucial that you stay focused even during the high school years of leading your students to Jesus, not stepping out of the picture. I believe this is the most important time to care more for their soul than their happiness. It is a hard time, they are struggling through who they are and their future plans.
You see, the more I work with students the more I see the importance of the environment in the home. Parents, what you do in moderation, you children will do in excess! Student ministers and churches only have a few hours a week to invest in students. Parents are the biggest influencers in the lives of their children. Period. Good or bad.
My parents were loving and passionate about serving Christ. I only say that because the person that I saw preaching the gospel on Sundays was preaching the gospel through his words and life during the week. God used my Dad and Mom to speak the gospel into my life which led to my salvation in the living room on my knees. They did not base serving God on feelings, what other people thought but based on the love that was received from Christ on the cross. Parents, you are so vital to a student's spiritual growth.
My prayer and exhortation for parents of students to be heroes for Christ:
- Dad: Surrender your LIFE to Jesus and live it out for your wife and children. It is the greatest gift to your family. Challenge your sons to make Jesus the center of their lives. Show them how to share their faith. Lead them to church! Not out of duty but because of your passion to serve and honor God. Teach your children that hobbies do not equal happiness, but joy comes through serving God with your gifts and abilities! In every way, point people to Jesus. Be a man. Never back down from truth. Love your wife like Christ loves the church. Be a protector. Be strong but gentle at heart. Teach your children that greed is the love of money. We need more men to stand for something and quit standing for things that do not matter in eternity!
- Mom: Love your children and husband like Christ. Model to your daughters the Proverbs 31 woman. Show them modesty, unconditional love and dedication to the gospel. Be submissive to your husband and work together as a team to serve God. Never be the parent that says, "Not my baby!" Be a leader of your children and care more for their holiness than their immediate happiness. Use your words to build people up and not tear them down. Say no to gossip and say yes to encouragement. Be active at church, small group and missions.
Leadership in the home is powerful. Take advantage of the time that your children are still home before they graduate high school! Don't be so fearful of them that you step out of the picture and release all control to their emotions, hormones and friend's decisions. Care for their soul and lead them to serve Jesus!