Parent's Spiritual Health is a Big Predictor of Their Child's Spiritual Health

Spiritual healthy parents are a big predictor of their child's spiritual health. 

Now this is not a blanket statement, but it is true in many, many cases. 

Yes, children must make their own decision to follow Jesus.  God doesn't have any grandchildren...only children. 

But parents normally play the biggest role in their child deciding to follow Jesus. 

We also know that many kids' view of God the Father comes from their view of their earthly father.  If their father has rules with no relationship, the child may grow up to view God as a distant Father who is ready to render wrath upon them when they sin. 

If the child's father walked out on the family, the child may be reluctant to trust God.

If the child's father is too busy to spend much time with him or her, the child may grow up to view God as someone who is too busy to listen to their prayers or get involved in their life.

If the child's relationship with their father was distant, they may grow up believing that God is distant and doesn't care about them.

I've often said, "We need more parenting ministries than we do children's ministries."  Parents are the biggest influence in a child's life.  This means if you want to influence children, you should begin trying to influence their parents. 
If you want to impact a child's life, then start by impacting the life of their biggest influence...their parents.  Seek to influence the influencers.
Praying parents raise praying children.

Tithing parents raise tithing children.

Faith sharing parents raise faith sharing children.

Parents who make church a priority raise kids who make church attendance a priority.

Bible reading parents raise Bible reading children.
We must also remember that while kids don't always do what we say, they never fail to imitate what we do.  You teach what you know, but you reproduce who you are. 
Mothers play just as an important role, or perhaps an even bigger role, in their child's spiritual health.  Couple of examples that come to mind.   Hannah influenced her son, Samuel, who became a great prophet of God.  Timothy was influenced by his mother and grandmother.  Throughout Scripture we see examples of parents influencing their children to follow God.

What if...just what if...we helped parents catch the vision of bringing up spiritually healthy children by first modeling spiritual health themselves?

What if we helped parents grow in their faith so they, in return, could help their children grow in their faith as well?

I'm afraid that many times, we get so busy trying to influence children's spiritual growth, that we neglect giving ourselves to the work of influencing parents' spiritual growth as well.  We get ourselves off the hook by saying "that's the adult ministries job."  And yes, it is part of their job, but I also know that you, as a children's ministry leader, can bring so much relevant material to the table.  So partner with adult ministries.  Work together to build some spiritual bridges for both children and their parents. 

Yes, there are exceptions.  There are children who grew up in terrible situations, but grew up to love God and do amazing things for Him.  But for most kids, as the spiritual health of their parents goes, so goes theirs as well.

I want to challenge you to sit down and begin to work through how you can invest in the spiritual health of the parents in your church.  And then out of that, the overflow will be children who are spiritually healthy.

Our children are watching us.  They are taking their cues from us as parents.  Oh, they won't admit it, especially if they are teenagers.  But don't be fooled.  They are watching their parents and following their lead. 

Be committed to helping parents lead well and help them set a solid foundation of spiritual health that their children and grandchildren will follow.