Do Parents Need to be Discipled in Parenting?


Many Christians, when they hear the word discipleship, think of one-on one sessions for learning the basics of the faith, others envision themselves giving up all to follow Jesus into a life of self-denial. In truth, discipleship is an approach for embracing every topic covered in God’s Word. And you may be surprised to learn that parenting is one of the most important.

Many evangelical churches today encourage believers to consider the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), Jesus’ instruction to “go ye therefore, and teach all nations”, but the condition of families within the body of Christ reflects the reality that few Christians are being adequately discipled, or taught, to succeed in marriage or parenting.

The current divorce rate among believers is equal to that outside the church. Many children growing up in Christian homes are using drugs, abusing alcohol, having sex and participating in activities that do not reflect Christianity. It has become difficult to differentiate the non-churched youth from those who profess to believe. Statistics tell us that over 65% of children being raised in Christian homes, with at least 10 years in a church youth group, are walking away from their faith after turning 18. Rebellion and disrespect toward authority, parents included, is now considered common adolescent behavior, even in the church. The family is in serious trouble.

We are quick to place blame for this condition on the television programs our children watch, the video games they play, the schools they attend, or the influence of the kid next door. I believe that the real problem is not what is affecting our children from outside our homes, but from the inside.

Parents are making major mistakes in raising their children, not from a lack of love, but because they are not parenting according to God’s Word. Families are coming to our churches, but what practical help is available for those who are struggling with marriage, or parenting? I do not believe that the church is intentionally ignoring the problem, but rather, has become occupied with other agendas. Sadly, families are failing because they cannot find tangible answers and biblical solutions for their problems.

Why Should the Family Be a Priority?
As recorded in the first two chapters of the Bible, the family is the first institution that God created. Both the Old and New Testaments begin with family stories. The first mention of the word love in the Scriptures is found in Genesis 22:2, where we learn of Abraham’s love for his son. The nation of Israel grew from one family. In Deuteronomy 6:1-9, the Lord made it clear that Israel’s survival as a nation would depend on the parents’ faithfulness in discipling and training their children to honor God, and raising them according to His instructions. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, came into this world through a family, and performed His first miracle at a wedding. The sanctity of marriage is illustrated in Ephesians 5:25, where God compares His love for the church to a husband’s love for his wife.

In the last 30 years, the church has recognized that our families and youth are in trouble and responded by hiring youth pastors, and developing a host of youth groups and activities. It seems that the church is trying to stand in for parents instead of equipping them to fulfill God’s calling in their own families. As a former youth pastor, I know the value of youth ministries, but, it is very clear that what the church is doing is not getting the job done. Why not add Family Ministry, hire a pastor whose calling is to train, support, and exhort parents to do their God-ordained job within the home?

The Bible is the best marriage and parenting manual ever written. Yes, it is helpful when those truths and principles are made clear, and presented in a way the people can understand and follow. God’s truth, when learned and obeyed, changes lives and restores the hope that we can succeed as parents. I feel that we at FDM have resources to help churches minister to the family.

 Can you honestly say your church is prepared with the biblical tools and leaders needed to disciple families? Do your pastors and lay leaders know the extent of God’s instructions for the family?

Ask Yourself These Questions:
•    Why are so many Christian families hurting, or in trouble?
•    Has the church lowered its standards of what constitutes a healthy family?
•    Is the church confused, or deceived, about what constitutes a successful church?
•    Can our churches be successful when a large percentage of our families are hurting and out of order?
•    Can our churches be successful when a large percentage of its people are disregarding God’s design and instructions for marriage and parenting?
•    Do our churches recognize that conversion is a work of the Holy Spirit, but discipleship is the responsibility of the church, which includes teaching how to tend to marriage and parenting?
•    Is the church’s main purpose to facilitate the spiritual growth of the congregation and, if so, is what you are doing successful?

It is my prayer that the Lord will raise up many with a calling and burden to disciple others to spiritual maturity. And that the church will be a place where God's people can learn how to be disciples for Christ, and godly husbands, wives and parents.


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