I've often heard it said that many Christian parents expect the church's Sunday school or youth group to be the main teacher of faith in their child's life. Recently in a discussion on Twitter, I read that churches should be equipping parents to intentionally parent their children in the Christian faith.
I completely agree, but I am left perplexed and grieved at how we in the West have found ourselves in a situation where God's people are separating life and faith.
Of course the church needs to teach intentional parenting, but why is the gospel not already having a transforming impact on how we live and how we parent?
Surely, we have to ask another question – why is anyone living out their faith in such a way that it does not impact their entire life? The gospel should be shaping everything. If we are seeking to love Jesus with all our heart, soul and mind, won't our children be impacted by this? If we truly believe that the Bible is the actual Word of God and our daily bread, should we not read it with our children? If we truly believe that prayer is communicating with the God of the Universe should we not pray as a family and teach our children to pray? If we truly long to see God's Kingdom come, do we not seek to make choices as a family that seek God's Kingdom first?
How have we made our faith so private that we need to be taught how to share it with those who see us the most?
If this sounds pious and judgmental, let me reassure you that as a family we get this wrong every single day – and I am so so grateful for grace. But if we are not seeking to get this right, how is the family of God different from any other family?
I am grieved that we have become so lukewarm and comfortable in the West that the church has to teach intentional faith parenting. We may as well say, that the church needs to teach the life-transforming news of the gospel. If the gospel is not transforming our lives, have we really understood it? Our love for Jesus and his Word should spill out over and into every single area of our life, including our children's lives.
Father, forgive us that our lives do not match up with our faith in Christ. We need your Holy Spirit power to live in such a way that it affects the whole of our lives. Without you we are weak, but in Christ we have everything we need. Please help us.
Lizzie Bassford is a wife, mum and missionary living in inner-city Manchester. Follow her on Twitter @captivated01.