Let's define nurture as: the act of promoting or developing growth, to educate or train. So in the spiritual sense, we need to promote, develop,
educate and train them spiritually.
It all starts with the idea of knowing your child. Proverbs 22:6 is key to understanding the process of knowing and raising your child.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Chuck Swindoll teaches that: At the center of their being, they want to be known, intimately and genuinely, and trained in godliness in a personal
way tailor-made for them. He focuses on the word way, which means in the Hebrew "road or path." It is a characteristic. So it can also be read
"train up a child in keeping with his (God given) characteristics."
Each of our children has been made unique in the image of God. He or she has been given "distinct abilities" to carry out the purposes God has
ordained for their life. Our role is to indentify these unique character traits and help develop them in each of our children. We can not parent each
child the same. Some are strong willed, some are timid, some are humble giants!
My son Joshua showed at an early age a desire to minister and share the Gospel. He toured with the Young Continentals and volunteered to be
the one who gave the Gospel message at the end. So as we saw him gravitate toward evangelistic activities, our responsibility was to encourage
and support him. Today he is an associate pastor, on the national speaking circuit and has written a book - he is only 26. To God be the glory, it
is fun to watch what God will do with your child's obedient heart.
The Goal is: Children rightly related to God. Their fulfillment will come through their relationship with Christ. Our role is to encourage and enhance
Just like a head of a church must give account for the spiritual well being of the members, so we, as spiritual leaders of our family are responsible
for the spiritual well being of our wives and children.
Fathers are to do all in their power to promote their family's holiness, understand their needs, encourage each to be all that God has purposed for
them. He should care for their spiritual well-being just as he cares for his own.
To nurture spiritually:
* Teach them Truth: We are raising our children in a culture of tolerance where any non-Christian religion acknowledging a Heavenly Father - Jew,
Mormon, Muslimů is considered a viable path to heaven. We must teach our children the fundamentals of the faith rising up spiritual champions
who know what they believe and why - enabling them to take a stand in the "global" culture. Our children will be exposed to more of the world's
view than you and I can image. Prepare them!
* Model Truth in Action: What you do says more about what you believe than what you say - and your kids are watching. One of the biggest
deterrents to our children's faith is our hypocrisy. If we want our kids to be reading the Bible, quick to go to prayer, have language and actions
that model Christ - we better be setting the example. Do not ask or expect your kids to do something you are unwilling to do.
* Encourage their personal walk with Christ: teach them the disciplines of pursuing God and then enable them to do so: buy age appropriate
Bibles, devotionals, worship CDs. Help them find and plug into strong youth groups - where do their Godly friends attend?
* Learn their God given heart's passion and help them pursue it: some play instruments -encourage them to pursue the youth group's band; some
like kids -encourage them to work in the toddlers Sunday School program; some have a heart for the needy - encourage them to go on missions
* Engage spiritual discussion - Be vulnerable in your faith, it is key to intimacy. Share what you are learning or struggling with in your quite times
or readings, or studies. Ask them to do the same and discuss and parent child guiding their thinking in truth.
* Send to spiritual events that fill their cup - This could be youth conferences, worship concerts, mission trips, or youth group retreats.
* Encourage them to spend time with friends that inspire their hearts: Every one of us needs a "Jonathan" in their life like David had. Pray for
Godly friends and give them greater responsibilities when they demonstrate they are pursuing their faith and building Godly relationships.
* Pray for them: Pray that they will know and follow Christ, that they will have spiritual discernment and choose their friends wisely. Pray that
they will have an appetite for the presence of God, they will know their purpose and pursue it.