Summary: Part 2 of Breaking Free looks at breaking the stereotype that says the church is to be the primary teacher of spiritual truth to kids rather than the parent.

Breaking Free

Part 2: Parents with Passion

Pastor Ryan Akers

Starting part 2 of our Breaking Free Series. This is a series about breaking free of the misconceptions that are out there about the church, what it is, what it’s about and what our role as Christians are within it. Last week we talked about the misconception that is out there today that the church is an organization designed to meet the wants of the people rather than the church being a people with a purpose to lives their lives centered on Christ and who use their spiritual gifts to edify the church, preach the Gospel and care for those in need. It was a tense sermon as I wanted to emphasize in your minds and hearts that the church can’t be something you just add to your life but the church has to be our lives. Our walk with Christ and our obedience to him is what matters more than anything. I pray, even if it was hard to hear, that your heart was pierced by the Spirit and you have been challenged to be more and do more for the glory of God.

Today we are going to talk about the 2nd misconception that people have about the church. And being mother’s day it fits perfectly. The second misconception people have is that the church should be the primary vehicle used for the spiritual growth of our kids. The goal of my message this morning is to help us as parents be it single, married or empty nesters break free of that dangerous mindset and take hold of a new passion and a new urgency where we not only want to see our kids grow spiritually in their relationship with Jesus but we, because of our example, prayers, encouragement and first hand involvement begin to play a big part in making that growth a reality.

We might hate to admit it but the programming that the church offers today for our kids, while good, has become in many of our homes the lone spiritual teaching and guidance our kids are receiving. With the chaos of life, both parents working full time, extracurricular activities galore, TV shows to watch (that’s me, way too many) and just being plain tired, family time with God, personal devotion time with God or praying with our kids and going over their Sunday school material with them has taken a back seat to our exhaustion and mostly become a quick prayer before dinner. We’re tired. We have more technology than ever before, more ways to make life easier than ever before and yet we are more tired than probably any time in history. With all that great technology has come more free time and humans, especially Americans, can’t ever just sit still and enjoy the free time. We have always been a people who have worked harder and accomplished more and so our instinct is not to relax or spend that time with our kids in the Word but rather it’s used to accomplish more task. Only in America can we find mowing, gardening or building something relaxing.  Never can we just stop and sit for a second.

So, with our busy schedules we have slowly relied more and more on the church to handle the spiritual development of our kids and we have slowly stepped out of that role as the primary vehicle from which our kids get their biblical teaching and real time example of faith. Also because of our busy schedules God more often than we like to admit has taken a back seat to our own spiritual development and now our lack of biblical knowledge has made many of us feel inadequate and awkward when it comes to talking to our kids about God, the bible, Jesus and what scripture actually means because honestly we don’t even know. And this is a real problem because no matter how great the program or how amazing the curriculum or how often our kids come to church nothing can replace the parent as the best example a child has for what it means to live out faith in Jesus in real time. Our kids always turn out like us both in good and bad ways. They follow our examples more than any pastor or Sunday school teacher. I have yet to have a youth parent whose kid was in my ministry call me up and say, “Oh, Pastor Ryan Jonathan is just like you!” It doesn’t happen. We don’t take on the traits of who we aren’t related to we take on the traits of those we are genetically connected to and who are in charge of raising us, the parents be it foster, adoptive or biological.

So when you have a church teaching your kids one thing but the parent, especially a Christian parent, living life in a way that either contradicts what the church is teaching them or at the very least not following up with what the church is teaching then you have a problem because the kid will always do what you do. Since I have become a parent the reality of this truth has become more real than I could imagine. Kobe always wants to be with daddy. No matter where I am or what I’m doing he wants to do what daddy is doing. If I’m playing video games he goes and has to get his controller and sit right next to me and pretend to play video games. If I’m on the computer he goes and gets sissy’s toy computer and sits next to me and pretends he’s on the computer. (Paige won’t try things because Taylor won’t)

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