One of the greatest ways we can build up the Kingdom of God as parents is to invest in our children. The precious and valuable time spent on the next generation is crucially important and shouldn’t be minimized. After all, is there anyone who loves our children greater, cares more about their soul, and is uniquely positioned to impact them for Christ and His Kingdom as we are?
In some cases, we have been programed by society to believe the greatest Kingdom impact we can make is toward a corporate goal, team effort, capital campaign, specific ministry position, pioneering a ministry, etc. I have been there. I had, and still have, lofty goals to build up the Kingdom of God through things like church planting, international humanitarian endeavors, ministry positions, authoring books, speaking and mountain moving teams—all great things. But, in striving to achieve such things in the past, I dangerously lost sight of the first ministry God set before me: my husband and children. I focused heavily on ways to build up the Kingdom of God through the local church and lost sight of how to best build up the Kingdom of God within the four walls of my home.
Kingdom impact should never come at the expense of our children. Let’s not lose sight of the eternal ministry that happens within our home! In fact, let’s seize the opportunities to advance God’s Kingdom in and through our kids—training them up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6) and parenting them through situations at a young age! Our “kid and Kingdom” investment will be multiplied many times over as our children learn to love Jesus and impact the world—one conversation, relationship, position, and endeavor at a time!
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned as a parent and Kingdom Laborer (and also one of the hardest!) took place after a two-year vocational ministry sabbatical when my children were teenagers. It was the lesson of saying “no.” As with Martha (Luke 10:42), I had to learn to set aside some very good (and even needed and important) ministry endeavors for “better portions” of time, energy, and investment with our children and family. “Ministry” wasn’t just the mountain-moving and visible things out there; ministry was much closer to home than I once realized. In fact, it was at home! And the seeds planted in my children, though not always immediate and visible, continue to yield long-lasting and priceless eternal fruit in their life and in God’s Kingdom.
5 Ways to Invest in Your Children to Build the Kingdom
Over the years, I’ve learned some worthwhile lessons and gained some valuable tools about how to build up the Kingdom of God as a parent. Here are the top five highlights:
Pray. I learned as a parent, one of the most powerful things you can do to build up the Kingdom of God is to pray for your children and with your children! Pray for your children daily. Pray privately to the Lord about them and pray personally over them! Let them hear you declare prayers and promises over them. Make prayer an ongoing part of their life and distinguishing mark of who you are as a family! Talk about ways to continually pray to God. Yes, pray when things are hard, but also find ways to consistently offer gratitude and thankfulness to God. Make conversations with God a normal part of your family’s routine and life! There have been occasions where I would say, “let’s pray,” and one (or sometimes all!) of my kids would say, “Okay, but a short one this time!” Be sensitive to their needs and capacity, but do not compromise praying for your children! Prayer is a powerful way to build up your child and the Kingdom of God.
Speak God’s Truth. Speak truth and pray scriptures over them. Pray the Word of God in addition to reading it. Claim scriptures and promises for them. Speak faith over them. Believe God for them when their faith isn’t strong enough to believe. I have been known to write out or print off scripture and place it in the glove box or under the floor mat of their car, under their bed or pillow, in their backpacks, on the mirrors in their bathroom, etc. I choose to stand on God’s Word and promises of His faithfulness for them. The world is tough, and there is an enemy who is real. Both have a way of tearing people down. Be a parent who builds your children up through a powerful, ongoing prayer life that’s rooted in scripture.
Communicate. Be open and transparent with your children. And, communicate often! Let them see some of the things you wrestle with (age appropriate, of course), and have conversations with them in real time as you navigate various situations and circumstances. Life is a great teacher, and nothing is wasted! Don’t look down on your children and think they are too young. There are ways you can simplify a complicated situation as you have conversations with them! Children are an important part of the family unit, don’t wait until they are adults before you try and have in-depth conversations with them! Also, meet them where they are. Ask about their day, highlights, and struggles. They need to know you care!
Recognize Uniqueness. Understand the uniqueness of each child! One style of parenting may work for one child and not another. Lean into the way God created them! Help your children to learn, grow, try, fail, and succeed under your care, direction, and supervision. My husband and I learned the hard way on this. We tried to intentionally keep our children in a Christian bubble and limit exposure to certain things until they got older. That didn’t help, but only complicated matters when they were older. They didn’t fully understand how to navigate certain situations on their own away from a “protected” environment. Give your children Biblical boundaries and opportunities as the Lord leads, and allow them to navigate life as you’re there to help guide them.
Teach. Help teach your children through real life moments. Process what worked and what didn’t work. Navigate through life in real time. There is a practical application procedure for teaching in surgery known as the “see one, do one, teach one” principle. Apply that to your family life! Your kids are never too young to learn! Let them see you in action. Next, help give them opportunities to engage and practice what they learned. Then, help create opportunities for them to teach younger siblings or friends! Many have the capacity to learn and absorb at mountain-moving levels.
You will never regret investing in your children to build up the Kingdom of God!