Christian parents have the responsibility to create a passion in their children’s lives for serving in the ministry. If we do not intentionally create this passion, others will come along and give them a passion for something else.
1. Teach your children to love the Bible and study it systematically
This is the most important thing that a parent can do for his or her child from an early age, as it is written in the Scriptures in Deuteronomy 6:6-9:
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
In the New Testament, the same command is explained as follows in Ephesians 6:4:
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
God motivates and challenges all of us, through His Word, to receive the Gospel by faith and to dedicate our lives to living out the Gospel and proclaiming It to others as we seek to make disciples. This is why we need to teach our children to study the Scriptures systematically, to memorize Scriptures, or, as the Psalmists writes, “hide the Words in our hearts”. One of the best ways that you can do this is to set aside time every single day when you study the Scriptures as a family. The Inductive Bible study method is one of the best ways for every member of the family to participate and learn. Precept Ministries International has some great Bible study manuals for adults, teens, and children, manuals that the entire family can work though together. This helps every member of the family discipline themselves to study the Scriptures daily, in a way that brings clarity to God’s message for us all.
2. Answer all of their questions as best you can
In Deuteronomy 6:20-25, we discover the following command to the parents:
When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What do the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments mean which the LORD our God commanded you?'”
then you shall say to your son, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LORD brought us from Egypt with a mighty hand.
Moreover, the LORD showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household;
He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers.’
So the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today.
It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the LORD our God, just as He commanded us.
The essence of this command is that we are to answer our children’s questions when they ask us about God. The best way to do is to share your personal experiences with God. They want and need to hear our examples of walking with and experiencing God. Be ready to share when they ask, because they will ask.
3. Share your ministry testimonies with your children
Unfortunately, the days in which we live are so packed with busyness that we do not get to spend as much time as we would like, or as much time as we need with our families, especially our children. As parents, we need to be aware of this struggle and we need to put forth effort to spend more time with our children. One of the best ways to do this is to invite them to join us in the ministry, to be and feel like part of the team. One time, my youngest son was asked what his dad does for a living and his response was, ‘works on the computer”. After hearing that, I sat down with my kids and explained what kind of work I do on the computer and how I use the computer to minister the Gospel to others. As we spend time together every day, I intentionally ask each child what his or her day was like, what they did, what they enjoyed, and what was not so fun about the day. When I share with them, I share about my day, how I was able to serve the Lord by serving the people around me. We always make every effort to take our children with us as we serve, so that we can serve as a family and teach our children to enjoy serving the Lord.
4. Involve your children in the ministry with you
As parents, we desire to teach our children to work hard and to serve others, and, in order to do that, we give each child assignments based on his or her abilities. As adults, this is a difficult task, but, if done correctly, will leave a lasting impression on our children. We need to be intentional about doing this and it will require patience on our part, especially as we work together to minister to others. As parents, we need to think about the assignments that we can give to our children and then allow them to carry out the tasks. We must be there to help and guide but they have to be the ones to accomplish the tasks. We need patience because from the start, we know that they will make mistakes as they learn. Each mistake is a teaching moment where we can patiently explain what went wrong and how to make it right. This will teach our children to be hard workers and trustworthy. As we evaluate all of our activities in the ministry, we need to plan on delegating tasks to our children so that they can be part of the team. We want our children to learn the value of hard work and service and the best way to do that is to involve them. Here at Hoffmantown Kids, any time we have meetings, we learn to study God’s Word and offer children opportunities to work hard and serve others. As a pastor, I love working with parents, teaching how to get involved in the ministry as a family.
5. Teach your children to meet pressing needs
Our motivation for serving in the ministry needs to be a sacred love for God and the people around us. As our children grow, we want to teach them to be aware of the pressing needs that the people around them have, so that they can do all that they can to meet those needs, with the purpose of sharing the Gospel. Paul teaches this Truth to Titus in Titus 3:14:
Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.
One great example of this is using the Christmas holiday season to motivate kids to service. Many times, during Christmas, children are very selfish, impatiently awaiting their promised toys and gifts. One way that we teach our kids at Hoffmantown to serve during Christmas is by putting on Christmas music specials at Nursing Homes and Rehabilitation centers. The kids prepare music and gifts to share with those who may not get a chance to get out and celebrate Christmas. We also prepare a Gospel presentation that the kids are involved in and we share our time, our love, and the message of hope to those who are in need. This has a profound impact in the lives of the ones whom we serve and it has a profound impact in the lives of the children who serve. These are memories that will motivate them to want to serve even more as they grow older.
6. Teach your children the WAY that they need to follow
The wise Solomon shared the following but of wisdom with us in Proverbs 22:6:
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
God has blessed each one of us with talents and certain interests that make us unique. My parents were not passionate about sports but I was as a child and when I became a born again believer, I wanted to use the talents that I had and the passion for sports to serve in ministering the Gospel to others. My children are not passionate about sports like I am, even though I would love for them to be, but, they have different talents that they can use to the praise of the Lord and the salvation of others.
7. Ask your children for advice in serving others
This may seem strange but, if I ask my kids for advice in serving others, I will find out how they think and how they feel about serving the people around us. This gets them involved and as the Bible says, “from the mouth of babes . . .” I remember once, I had trouble with my blog that I use for the ministry. I had lost a log in and could not get any help from anyone I know who had experience in programming. As I was frantically searching to get the blog back up and running, my 10 year old came and told me that he could “fix the problem”. I did not pay much attention because I did not believe that he knew what to do. Besides, I had already consulted with the “experts” and they told me that there was nothing that could be done. As a last ditch effort, I gave my son the computer to try and fix. Within 10 minutes he had the blog back up and running and everything was fine. Today my son is the site administrator because this is something that he is passionate about and sees it as his opportunity to serve in the ministry. There are many parents who baby their children, always thinking that the kids need to be a little older before doing things. A little here and a little there quickly turns into a lot. Children are never too young to begin learning to work hard and serve others. Please do not miss an opportunity to work together with your children to serve in the ministry and store up treasures in the kingdom of heaven. God bless.
Author: Vasile Filat
Translation by: Erik Brewer