GUEST POST by Gregg Farah serves as a teaching pastor and the student ministry pastor at Shelter Rock Church on Long Island. He and his wife, Janine have been married for 20+ years and are the parents of three amazing daughters. Gregg says besides hanging out and laughing with his family, he enjoys writing, pursuring the perfect pizza slice, cheering for the Mets, and playing sports. Gregg is trying something risky–click here to get involved.
So far we’ve addressed misplaced priorities in families and overcoming three of the top challenges in developing a spiritual growth plan in families. While I’m certain we’re making progress, the list of questions generated by this topic feels exponential. Is that light at the end of the tunnel or an oncoming train? Here are several frequently asked questions.
Where do I start?
Many parents understood their God-given role to pastor their children and are ready to embrace the challenge, but they’re desperate for the “perfect” resource, devotional, curriculum, or DVD. Take heart, there is no perfect resource! Spiritual maturity is about the goal, not the ministry model. I promise you there are many people who love Jesus and love their kids, yet do things diametrically opposed to how you’d do them. And believe it or not, their kids are healthy! And that doesn’t mean your way is wrong; rather, focus on the motive, not the method. Part 4 will include many resource ideas, but it is possible to be successful without them.
What do I do if I have multiple kids in different age brackets?
This one always stumped me. I didn’t want to bore my oldest child, so I provided an age-appropriate devotional for her…at the expense of my youngest child. Frustrating for everyone. So I stopped worrying about finding the perfect “one size fits all” resource and started focusing on loving my children. We had fun conversations together, and then often–not always–helpful follow-up conversations individually.
What if they ask me a question I can’t answer?
Repeat after me: “Wow. That’s a great question. I don’t have an answer for you now, but let me do some research and see what I can find. Ask me again tomorrow.” That’s all it takes, besides doing your homework to find the answer. To that end, Google is your friend, and so are the people from church. Don’t do this alone. When you get more comfortable, alter the above response by saying “let’s go research that together and see what we can find.”
What if my kids know more than I do?
This is a good problem! I addressed this somewhat in Part 2. Bottom line, if your pride can take it, use this to your advantage. Let your child know it’s your responsibility as a parent to lead your family spiritually, but acknowledge that he or she has a head start on you. Then look your child in the eye and say you want to grow in your faith and you want to do it together. Your child will respect you and be motivated by your faith. And hopefully you’ll have a competitive edge that motivates you.
What if I’ve tried in the past and failed?
Welcome to the real world. I don’t mean that in a nasty way, I just mean…welcome to the real world. When you have a bad day at work, you don’t stop working. When you eat a bad meal, you don’t stop eating. Your job as parent is to lead spiritually. Had a tough start? Clearly, your heart is in the right place. Why else would you be reading Part 3 of a 4-part series on spiritual growth. All you can do is your best. Again and again and again. Your family will respect you for it, and God will say “well done, good and faithful servant.”
We have a tough enough job as parents, that it seems a bit unfair to have to provide spiritually for our children when we’re already providing in so many other ways. But this must be our priority, far more than providing a math tutor, or extra batting practice, or a down payment for a first car. A relationship with God will feed and fuel our souls for eternity, much longer than our ability to remember the periodic table.
Question: What do you think are the other frequently asked questions that Gregg needs to address? Share them here.