Christian parenting basically consists of two things: modeling and teaching the gospel. These two things, when combined together, are a powerful means of making our children “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). C.J. Mahaney first showed me this truth from these two sermons I would highly recommend.
So, what does practical gospel parenting look like in the Wolter home? Here’s a few things we do–keeping in mind we fail often! But, by the grace of God, we keep growing as parents.
Modeling — What are your children observing?
- Seeing God in everything – we try to see God throughout the day and point our kids to Him (e.g. as we take a walk, we remind our children of God’s beautiful creation; as we watch a TV show or movie we try to talk about how it either supports or goes against a biblical worldview of life)
- Praying at all times — we try to stop and pray throughout the day, thanking God and acknowledging our need for God (i.e. trying not to make prayer just a dinner table experience!)
- Admitting our sins — many times I have messed up and needed to go and ask my girls to forgive me for my sin (this inevitably creates another opportunity for me to let them know how much “daddy” needs Jesus too)
- Inviting others into our home — this has gotten somewhat more difficult with three kids, but Jaime and I want to model for our kids an atmosphere of love and openness to others
Teaching — What are your children learning?
- To Begin the Day — I usually get up and get the girls breakfast (Jaime does so much, I try to serve her in this way — plus I’m a morning person and she’s not!). During breakfast, I read from a couple different devotional materials (Big Book of Quesions and Answers by Sinclair Ferguson and A Faith to Grow On by John MacArthur) and we talk about them. It only takes about 5 minutes, but it’s one way I start the day teaching them about the gospel.
- Sometimes at Supper – Although we’re less consistent with this routine, we’ve found that it’s fun to pray for someone (i.e. missionary friends we support) by having one of our kids take a picture off the fridge and pray for that person before we eat. After we eat, sometimes I’ll pull out My First Book of Questions by Carine MacKenzie and “quiz” the girls for fun.
- To End the Day — Nearly every night we try to read from The Jesus StoryBook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones and pray with our girls. I also give them a blessing as I run my hand through their hair and smile over them. If I forget, they always remind me!
- Listening to Music as we drive — Jaime likes to put in CD’s for the girls to listen to. Our girls really like Seeds!
- Reading Good Books Together — There are so many books I could mention here. I’ll just mention two: Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers by Joey Allen, and The Priest With Dirty Clothesby R.C. Sproul.
These are some practical ideas we have tried to implement in modeling and teaching the gospel to our children. But above all, Jaime and I try to pray for our children on a daily basis. We know that God is the only one who can extend grace to our children to save them and sanctify them just as He has with us.
How about you? We would love to hear from you and learn from you as we do “life together” as parents.
- Check out what Lisle Drury does with his family
- Listen to Mahaney’s sermons on Gospel-Centered Parenting