The discipleship of a child should not be outsourced to the church. Parents learned first steps to take ownership of their children’s faith journey at a recent parenting workshop.
Discipleship needs to turn from being church-focused to being home-focused.
This was the reminder given to over 300 parents at City Harvest Church’s first parenting workshop for the year, held on on May 20. The speakers Benjamin and Dinah Lee are pastors from Focus on the Family, a donor-supported Institute of Public Character that promotes strong family relationships through education, counselling, events and media engagement.
The Lees took their audience through a reading of Deuteronomy 6:1-9, which reminded parents of their holy roles in building a Godly home to teach their children the greatest commandment: to love God with all their hearts, souls and strength.
From the verses, the audience learned three key things:
- The way they live their lives impacts multiple generations. When believers live in God’s ways, their children and their grandchildren will reap what they sow, and they will be able to enjoy life.
- They need to build a home which is a physical representation of Christ’s love. They do this by knowing God through His Word, and listening to what He says. How would a believer know what to obey if he does not know the commandments?
- When believers know God’s commandments and love Him as He loves them, they will be able to keep God’s commandments at the core of their being. They will be able to talk the talk and walk the walk, all the time, wherever they are, to demonstrate how they can love God with all their hearts, souls and strength.
The Lees also taught that all children yearn for their parents to reinforce their worth, to accept and affirm them. Parents learned to bless their children, which is a powerful relational tool as given in the Old Testament. Parents were introduced to the “Faith At Home Starter Kit”* which includes a guide on how to speak words of blessing over our children.
The guide explains: “A blessing includes words of encouragement, details of a child’s inheritance, and prophetic words concerning the future. Sharing your living faith in Christ does not happen by teaching a set of rules or customs. It is primarily about a relationship. When you give children your blessing, you are laying a relational foundation that prepares their hearts for a relationship with Jesus…Childhood experiences are so powerful in shaping lives. Your words as a parent can help set and give your child a special vision of their future; one that is based on the Word of God.”
The audience had the opportunity to practice blessing their spouses, and those who came with children practiced blessing their children.
It was a powerful session that left a deep impression on many of the parents who attended.
Lennard Phua, a father of two sons, 8 and 10, told City News: “I learned at this workshop that my home is where it all begins: we exemplify the nature of Christ by living out God’s Word and demonstrating His love for our children 24/7. As parents, we are the ‘priests’ at home who teach and show the unconditional love of God. We can do this by blessing our children with God’s Word. Our words of affirmation will have a deep impact on our children in their personal spiritual development. It is never too late to start.”
Phua’s wife Cheryl added, “I realized that even though I bless them and pray for them daily, it’s just as important to affirm them daily as well. Through this session, God affirmed my stance and conviction on the ‘fear of the Lord’ – as we journey through life and parenthood, it’s very important that we listen to Him and apply His Word in our lives and in parenting. He also reminded me to continue to be reflective and remain open to Him, so that He can guide us to be better parents. And we can only be better parents if we become better listeners, to God and to our kids.”
Shirlyn Goh, a mother of two daughters, 10 and 16, said, “I learned that affirmation and blessing my children is so important. It will change my family and have a great impact on future generations. I will start to bless my children and make an effort to pray as a family. It’s never too late to invite God to be the head of the family.”
The “Faith At Home Start Kit” is available at www.family.org.sg/ItemDetail?iProductCode=FAH