How Parent Stewards Can Change the World
What it means to steward our marriage and our children
Recently my friend Lisa Nagle shared an article she wrote about the recent Asia Pacific Youth Congress II in Indonesia. The goal of the conference was to inspire and ignite a global disciple making movement by reaching, rescuing, rooting and releasing children and youth to reach their full transformational impact in their family, community and nation.
I wanted to share Lisa’s thoughts because we have identified the stewarding of our marriages and families as a critical area of focus for our work at The Steward’s Journey in 2017. We will look closely at what it means to steward our marriage and how we serve as parent stewards for our children. Parent stewards understand that their children are not their own, but as stewards their role is to introduce their children to their heavenly Father and a relationship with Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Lisa provides us with a good start at building a foundation for that discussion. I trust you are encouraged and challenged by her ideas as you seek to be a faithful parent steward. The article focuses on kids ages 4 to 14, or what is called the ‘4/14 Window’. Lisa shared three reasons why this work is so critical.
1. This is a biblical mandate because children can know God, love God and serve God.
Children’s spiritual capacity is not limited by their physical, intellectual and spiritual maturity. Children can fellowship with God and enjoy Him (Ps 8:2; 34:11; 103:13 and Mark 10:13-16).
2. The 4/14 Window is strategic because the next generation will change the world.
Children are the future of the church and if their spiritual life is nurtured during these critical years, then the leadership crisis in the church today will be alleviated tomorrow.
3. The task is urgent because a person’s worldview is formed very early in life and is usually established by the age of 14.
Children must be brought to know Christ and learn to think and act according to God’s Word during the ages of 4 to 14; then they are more likely to always have a biblical worldview.
To build a new generation from the 4/14 Window we need to establish the right goal, process and design. These are the three components of the development of the whole person.
For Lisa, this work is holistic. I appreciate the five areas of growth she outlines for the full development of children in this window.
Our goal is for every child to grow in five areas: Christ, Community, Character, Calling and Competencies. Children can know God (Christ); live and grow in a supportive and accountable family and church (Community); grow in integrity (Character); discover God’s purpose for their life (Calling); and develop knowledge, gifts and skills to fulfill their calling (Competencies).
This is called the ConneXions model (the 5Cs). It is a model of holistic, Christ-centered development. We must build all five elements in the next generation:
- Christ – the child’s spiritual
- Community – the child’s relational life.
- Character – the child’s
- Calling – the child’s God-given purpose.
- Competencies – the child’s knowledge and practical life and minis- try
Lisa goes on to talk about the role of parents to present God to their kids. This is the ultimate work of a steward parent and I like the way she describes this work.
- Parents present God to their children through teaching them the Word of God.
- Parents present God to their children through times of family worship. As well as fellowshipping with God in the normal course of daily life, families must also have special times of seeking God together. Family worship can involve singing, studying the Bible, prayer and other spiritual activities.
- Parents present God to their children through leading their families through the experiences of life. It is the parents’ responsibility to interpret the world to their children so that the children will learn how to perceive and correctly understand the hand and presence of God in all that happens.
- Parents lead their children to God by giving them appropriate responsibilities that build their faith as well as practical life skills.
She concludes with this challenge:
Primary responsibility for the spiritual growth of the next generation resides with the family with the support of the church. Parents provide opportunities for growth by giving their children appropriate responsibilities, experiences, relationships, resources, etc. These opportunities must be intentionally designed by the parents with the help of the church.
What does it mean to you to be a parent steward? Are you encouraging the five areas of growth in your parenting? How are you doing at presenting God to your children? These are wonderful and challenging questions for us as we look more closely in the coming months at this most fundamental role we play as faithful stewards entrusted with the lives of the young people that will change the world.