We cannot over emphasize the responsibility of parents. We are called to be more faithful than we are able to do on our own. That is why it is important to remember that we are part of a larger family, the church. This raises the question, what is the relationship between church and parent as we nurture our children in faith? The church can become the community where parents receive the support, guidance, and forgiveness that Christian parents require. Also, the place where children are given the nurture, limits, and story that growth into faith requires.
The church ought to join the parent in prayer for the salvation of children. When we pray for others to follow Christ no matter what the cost, we do so with the assumption that it is in God’s power to bring them to faith. Prayer is a bold expression that there is One greater than yourself. Praying for your children is an honest confession that you are unable to raise children on your own. Such prayer recognizes that there is no greatness in our parenting skills, but only in God.
Raising children is not so much about parents or children as it is about God. We are to be always about His business, parenting is no exception. In fact, the problem with many modern evangelism strategies is that the focus leaves God and becomes business about people. We are always to be witnesses. Sometimes we are also parents. Therefore, we want to include our children in the Gospel story.
While this task falls to the entire community of faith, it is the parent who has the greatest influence. The natural moments at home provide a great opportunity. We will transmit our convictions in the ways we talk with children, walk with them, put them to bed, and greet them in the morning. The Christian family is all of us living, working, eating, drinking, teaching, learning, and growing together. The relationship between church and parent must be one that encourages children in ways that include them in the story.
Children are not intended to be chosen but to be received. Children are not achievements, but gifts. We are not to control them for our own ends. Nothing so disrupts our tidy, well planned futures. Nothing so clearly mirrors our best and worst. Nothing demands from us, humbles us, or gives to us as does the blessed burden of a child.
Some may see children as a worrisome bother to be avoided. Some feel that children should be avoided because of the uncertainty of the future. By saying yes to children, we do not demonstrate a faith in the future or faith in our abilities to provide for our children. Rather, faith in God who holds the future. Evangelism of our children is not a matter of parental effort. It is God’s work in which we are privileged to share.