Like Father Like Son

When you go to the doctor, they often ask about your family history.  Has your father or mother had so and so?  Does this run in your family?

Why do they ask you this?  Because if your parents or grandparents have struggled with a certain illness, there's a good chance you may as well.

Recent research by Child Trends showed that a parent's health was a good indicator of their children's health.  

If parents are in excellent health, the percentages would say their child will have excellent health as well.  If parents are struggling with a certain illness, the percentages would say their child may struggle with the same health issues, if not now, down the road.

I believe the same thing could be said about children's spiritual health.  If parents are healthy spiritually, then their children will be prone to be healthy spiritually as well.

And if the parents are lukewarm believers, then their children will be prone to be lukewarm believers as well.

You see, no one has more influence in a child's life than his or her parents.  Like father like son.  Like mother like daughter.  Parents play the biggest role in shaping their children's faith.

If we can help parents be spiritually healthy, then they in turn, will lead their children into spiritual passion and health.

The truth is (and this is coming from the guy who loves children's ministry) we don't need more children's ministry.  We need more "parent ministry."

The Bible talks about generational sins and curses.  Generational sins means you disobey God's commandments.  You have idols that you place before God.  These tendencies can be passed down to children from their parents.

Yes, we know that each person must answer for himself or herself when it comes to their relationship with God.  God doesn't have any grandchildren, only children.  Even though sin in a family can be passed down through the generations, each person has to make their own decision about following Jesus. 

That being said, parents have a huge influence, the biggest influence, in cultivating children's hearts to follow Jesus.  Parents can create a home environment that influences kids to step across the line of faith and go on the adventure of following Jesus.

So how can you influence parents?  How can you come alongside parents and equip them to be a spiritual influence in their child's life?

Offer parenting classes.  In the children's ministry world, for too long, we've depended on adult ministry to offer parenting classes and in many cases, the children's ministry doesn't get involved.  It's time we, as children's ministry leaders, start playing a key role in facilitating parenting classes that teach parents how to raise their children to be a spiritual leader.

Offer milestones.  Milestones are significant spiritual markers in a family's life.  And if you are intentional about what you do for milestones, you can see God use it to break generational curses.

Here are the key times you can significantly influence not just children, but their parents as well.
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Place tools in the hands of parents that will help them lead their children spiritually.  This may include things like parenting classes (as mentioned above), creating small groups for parents based on their child's age and serving with their children.

You have families in your church that are struggling with generational curses.  But the good news is God can use you and your children's ministry to help break those curses.

No matter how far a family is from God, there is hope.  No matter how far back the sin patterns go, it can be broken.

I know a family that was really messed up.  The great, great grandfather was a moonshiner during the days of prohibition.  He was a violent man and ended up murdering a man in his front yard.  He was sent to prison for life.  His son followed right in his dad's footsteps and became a drunkard.  The violence was also passed down to the next generation.  The son was constantly getting into fights and and as a result he'd had his nose broken 5 times.

Enter Jesus into this scenario.  The next son in the family tree, heard about the life changing power of Jesus and so, he went to church to learn more about it.  This would be the decision that broke the generational curse in the family.  For the first time, the son heard that things could be different with Jesus.  He stepped across the line of faith and entered a relationship with Jesus.  His father soon became a follower of Christ as well and the generational curse turned in to a generational blessing.

How do I know this is true?  Because that family was my family.  Jesus changed our family and He can do the same for the families in your community.

As we reach fathers and mothers, we will see entire families come to Christ.  We will see generations changed from a curse to a blessing.

Remember, when you reach a child, you change a life.  When you reach parents,  you change an entire family.

Father full of hope....son will be full of hope.

Mother loves Jesus...daughter will love Jesus.

Father reads the Bible...son will read the Bible.

Mother spends time with Jesus...daughter will walk with Jesus.

Father attends church faithfully...son will attend faithfully.

Mother serves...daughter serves.

This video gives simple, clear facts from God's Word about generational curses and how they can be broken.  Check it out.