My wife and I have five children, and we are involved in the work of the gospel. I teach the Bible by the inductive method through computer classes at the “ScriptehInfo” school. My wife does Christian work by teaching English at English for a New Life School. We want you to counsel us on how we can create a vision for our children to get involved in these works and to dedicate their lives to the preaching of the gospel?
Christian parents have a responsibility to give their children a vision for the work of the gospel, and if they do not give due attention and effort to this important task, there is a danger that others will come and instill in their children a foreign vision of Christ and the gospel. My wife and I also have three children for whom we have made and make the effort to create a vision for them and to transmit to them love for Christ and the Gospel. When I received this question, I had an interesting discussion with my wife and children and here I will write the principles that were outlined in our discussion.
- Teach children to love the Bible and to study it systematically
This is the most important thing that every parent should do for his child from an early age, because it is written:
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. And you shall repeat them diligently to your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk on the road, when you lie down, and when you get up. You shall also tie them as a sign to your hand, and they shall be as frontlets on your forehead. You shall also write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9 NASB)
In the New Testament the same commandment is given to us as follows:
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4 NASB)
God motivates us all through His Word to receive the gospel and then to dedicate our lives to preaching it to others, so we must teach children to systematically study the Holy Scriptures, to love and memorize them, for that is the only way they can be truly happy. In our family, we studied the Bible every day, applying the method of inductive Bible study. We have used all the children’s textbooks one by one, and we believe that in this way we have formed a love and discipline for the children to research God’s Word. Without studying the Bible we cannot have God’s vision and have nothing to convey to our children.
- Answer all the children’s questions
Also in the book of Deuteronomy is this commandment:
When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What do the provisions and the statutes and the judgments mean which the Lord our God commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Moreover, the Lord provided great and terrible signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh, and all his household; He brought us out of there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers. So the Lord commanded us to follow all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our own good always and for our survival, as it is today. And it will be righteousness for us if we are careful to follow all this commandment before the Lord our God, just as He commanded us. ( Deuteronomy 6: 20-25 NASB)
The essence of this commandment is to answer children when they ask us about God and to present to them our experience with Him, for they need our example of living with God, and this example must be explained verbally.
- Introduce the children to the work you are doing in the gospel
Unfortunately, the specifics of the times in which we live do not allow us to spend much time with children and other family members. We need to understand this, and every parent should make an effort to spend time with their children and show them the work they are doing in the gospel. It happened to me once, when our boy, Daniel, was younger, to find out that, when asked what kind of work I do, his father, he answered “on the computer.” Since then, I have decided that he and the other members of the family must know what I do “on the computer” and in all other areas that they do not see or understand if they do not receive the necessary explanations. The time we spend at the table together is perfect for finding out what each of us does during the day and telling the children about the work we do with our wives in the gospel. We also decided to do our best to take the children, one by one, with us, so that they could see and understand the work we are doing. Only in this way will they be able to take on the same vision.
- Involve children in the work of the gospel
If we want in our family to teach children to serve others and to love work, then we entrust them with tasks according to their powers. This requires an effort on our part, of the mature ones, and it also requires us to be patient. We need to think and choose the tasks to delegate to the children, set aside time to teach them how to do that, and then be patient with them, assuming from the start that they will not do well and we will have to correct what they have done. Only in this way will we grow them as hardworking and trustworthy people. This is exactly what we must do in the work of the gospel. Let’s think carefully about all the ministry we do and then choose from it what we can give the children to do. Let us teach them how and help them to love the holy work. Let’s not give them tasks that will overwhelm them and discourage them if they fail.
- Teach children to see people’s needs and meet them
The motivation for working in the gospel must be love for God and for people. Teach children to look to those around them to see their needs and to meet those needs according to the gospel. A very beautiful example I saw at Christmas. Ion and Felicia Rotaru motivated their three little girls at the beginning of the year to raise money and to buy food at Christmas, to make a gift to the village elders, who live alone. The girls raised money all year round, and at Christmas they went with their parents and the rest of the disciples who study in their study group, and brought hope and comfort to the hearts of those elders. This work will have a great impact on the hearts of children and will remain for the rest of their lives.
- Teach children the path to follow
The sage Solomon said:
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he grows older he will not abandon it. (Proverbs 22:6 NASB)
God has endowed each of us with unique talents, interests, and abilities. My parents were not passionate about sports and especially martial arts, but I had a great passion for them, and when I became a disciple of Christ, I applied everything I know and can do on the field of the gospel. Our children do not have the same passion for martial arts, even if I would like to see it in one of them. God, however, has given them other abilities, interests, and strengths, and it is our duty as parents to help them develop and use them for the glory of God and for the salvation of men.
- Advise your children about the work of the gospel
You may find this exhortation strange, but let us think together: if your children know and follow the work you do in the gospel well, they have a good and clear perspective so that they can sometimes give original and effective advice. I remember once having problems with the Eurasian Institute for Inductive Bible Study blog because I had lost a password. I tried to fix it, then I turned to the help of disciples who know the computer and programming well, but I couldn’t fix the blog. All this time, our son, David, who was about 9-10 years old at the time, was approaching and telling me something to do that I didn’t pay much attention to, because I thought he couldn’t know more than me or the other programmers I had asked. Since I still saw that there was no solution, I decided to allow David to do a “funeral service” of the blog, trying his idea. And what do you think? In about 10-15 minutes David came to tell me that the blog was working perfectly. Is it necessary to write here what lesson I learned from that case? Today David manages the technical aspects of this site.
There are many parents who have disregarded their children or angered them with exaggerated rules and requirements that did not make sense. Other parents thought it was too early to take care of their children’s spiritual growth, and when they thought the time had come, they saw no desire from their children. Do not repeat the mistakes of failed parents and do all you can today for your children to live their lives beautifully for Christ and enter the Kingdom of God with glory.
Translated by Aliona Soltan