Raising Influencers for Christ
Why do we homeschool? What is the ultimate goal for our children? We hope they are happy, safe, healthy, and successful. But, there’s a deeper desire that drives us forward?
Christian homeschoolers have an enormous opportunity to provide a spiritual foundation for their children. In fact, many Christian homeschoolers would say that the spiritual life of their children is the main reason they have chosen to homeschool.
So, what is the goal? Is it to raise religious children who become religious adults? Of course not. Perhaps the goal is to see our children walking vibrant lives in relationship with God. That’s good, but it falls short of the great commission. God’s goal for our children is not merely to know him, and to love him, but to become influencers for Christ and his kingdom.
The Great Commission to “go into all the world teaching others to do everything Christ commanded,” –Matthew 28:18-20 is more than an idea, it’s a command. So how do we influence the hearts of our children to understand and act on this command? The first step is to help them see their need of a Savior and to accept him as the leader of their lives. Then what? How do we participate with Christ in the discipleship of our children’s hearts?
Below are three ways we intentionally discipled our children. Perhaps these ideas will resonate with you, and encourage you to continue raising your children to become influencers for Christ.
- Family Devotions
Establishing regular family devotions provides opportunity to read scripture, share about your day, and pray together. It is a powerful tool for influencing each other to grow in your walk with Christ and become influencers for Him. After trying and failing to find a consistent time for family devotions, our family finally landed on the hour just before bed time as the ideal spot in our day to gather. Though there were nights when the boys were cranky and downright ornery, we persevered. We’ve maintained this tradition for over twenty years. The joy of having our grown children home over the holidays was increased by the opportunity to gather together once again for family devotions. Hearing our eldest son pray for his brothers and share how God is working in his life, made my heart squeeze with happiness and thanksgiving.
Learning how to pray and what to expect from prayer is crucial in the life of every believer. Of course, we can pray for people we love and for circumstances we’d like to see changed, but learning to pray is about more than what we want God to do for us. Teach your children to pray for spiritual eyes to see people the way God sees them. Pray with thanksgiving and joy not just for material blessings, but spiritual blessings. Pray the names of God and praise Him for who He is. These types of prayers are powerful and impactful. Children who learn to pray like this are better able to stand in the midst of hardship and trial. They know who God is as a result of meeting Him in prayer. The influence of a rich prayer life on the heart of a child is amazing to watch. I will never forget the moment one of my children went from thanking God for his toys to asking God to help him obey and do what he ought. This was his first step in becoming an influencer for Christ. His heart was influenced BY Christ so that his life could influence others FOR Christ.
- Intentional Moments
Early in our boy’s lives, my husband began a tradition called “guy time”. Guy time became a treasured opportunity to be with each of our boys one-on-one. Of course, the boys loved this tradition initially because it meant a treat or an outing with Dad. Bonding with his sons and discipleship was the heartbeat of my husband’s purpose. When they were little, he would play with them, read to them and talk about things like self-control and perseverance. As the boys grew, they read great books like Case for Christ for kids and discipleship materials my husband had written. They’ve listened to books on tape like Screw Tape Letters and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. When they became teenagers, they discussed topics such as creation vs. evolution, teenage sexuality and money management. We pray and believe these intentional moments have influenced the hearts of our sons to become strong men of God.
The truth of the matter is, we must rely on the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of our children. There are many who’ve done all they can to raise influencers only to find their children wandering from the faith. This is where prayer and a personal, intimate walk with the Lord are a crucial part of our own lives. By faith, we do the work God has called us to and by faith we submit our children to His good plan. We know God is doing a great work in our grown sons’ lives. We see them grappling with the deeper issues of being adults in a fallen world. We have raised them to be influencers for Christ and believe Christ will continue to influence their hearts for His glory and the glory of God.
How are you raising your children to be influencers? We would love to hear from you. Comment below or come find me over at Camping Stick Kids. www.campingstickkids.org.
Joleen Steel is the curriculum specialist for Camping Stick Kids. She has a B.A. in elementary education. She taught public school for ten years before deciding to open her own music studio and homeschool her boys. Joleen is a pastor’s wife and grew up as a pastor’s kid. Her love for the good news of Jesus Christ flows out of her and into the camping stick kids curriculum. Her easy style and creative approach to teaching will encourage your student to learn the Gospel story and be able to share the good news with their friends and family. Joleen would love to have you visit the camping stick kids website and blog. Come say hi at campingstickkids.org and www.readingwritingtea.com