My husband and I listened to this talk by Voddie Baucham the other day over dinner. Although the talk was delivered to pastors, it more than applies to anyone seeking to honour God in their families. Here are a couple of sobering thoughts (haphasard notes really!) that challenged us.
1. Do we honour Christian mothers and the children they have? How often do we make fun of the woman who comes in with 4 or more children to our church? As Christians are we more influenced by society around us? Are we more concerned with getting the right house, securing the right amount of money before we have children? Do we see children as a comodity, do we have them because it is the done thing to do? Even when (and if) we do start a family, is it a case of "a boy for me, a girl for you and praise the lord we're finally through?" Is it a matter of "only when we have two of the same sex that we might try for a third?"
What does this say about our view of children? Do we see them as a blessing from the Lord? What does it say about what will happen to our Christian population compared with Muslim families who have 5 and 6 children? Our birthrate is below replacement rate, we are not having enough children for our culture to survive. We want more souls in the kingdom as long as we don't have to birth them, raise them and feed them.
2. Do we have a Biblical view of youth ministry? Over the last 30 years we have seen the greatest increase in youth workers, but our youth ministry vision can be unbiblical, working against what we find the Scriptures teaching us. Why? We do not see the centrality of the home for the evangelism and discipleship of children and young people. Any youth ministry statement must include the role of parents and any youth minister must purely exist to assist Christian parents in the evangelisation and discipleship of their children. Parents job, not youth pastors job. We need to teach parents how to teach their children. If there is a deficiency in the church when it comes to giving, we teach the church to give. Why do we not teach Fathers (and mothers) how to teach their children when so many of us are deficient when it comes to raising our children biblically?
3. Adopt a biblical view of church leadership - any church elder or pastor must manage their household well, Titus 1 makes this clear. Do we place too much emphasis on the requirement of leaders not to be drinking and not about how they raise their children in the faith? Not drinking is easy unless you are an alcoholic, yet what are our expectations of the second requirement? Do we raise one command and lower the other? Men are not worthy of being pastors/leaders if they are not raising their children biblically. Pastors need to be exemplary husbands and fathers.
Apologies for the rambled notes, you're better off listening to the talk here!