Our Evangelism and discipleship of children is pastor-focused
“How do I respond to parent requests for me to ‘counsel’ their children about accepting Jesus?”
We must do all we can to support the parents in our ministry, but it is not “healthy” for them to want us in the CM to relieve them of the scriptural responsibility that God places on them to lead their children spiritually. Giving them the “tools” they need is better than simply doing the work for them.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.These words I am commanding you today are to be upon your hearts. And you shall teach them diligently to your children and speak of them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as reminders on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6: 4-9
Throughout scripture, God places the responsibility for raising children spiritually squarely on the shoulders of the parents. The challenge to “train up a child in the ways of the Lord…” in Proverbs 22:6 is understood to be directed at parents. In Ephesians 6: 1-3, God speaks directly to parents and to their children.
Nowhere, other than in the case of Hannah giving Samuel into the care of Eli, do we find a scriptural foundation for anyone taking the responsibility of raising children spiritually away from the parents. So, we in the CM should not permit parents to shirk this responsibility, no matter how “good” it feels for them to ask us.
There is nothing wrong with supporting and empowering the parents, though, as long as the purpose for doing so is to assist them in fulfilling God’s command to them. If a parent asks you to “counsel” their child, you can agree to meet with the parent(s) and the child together to get to know them. BUT, if the parent’s purpose for meeting with you is to “get” you to somehow “fix” their child, be very careful not to get sucked into that sticky situation. If a parent doesn’t know how to communicate with their child, you can assist them by suggesting some ways to begin conversations. If a parent doesn’t know what to say to a child about their own relationship with Jesus, you can give them some ideas as well.
It is important, in all of these situations, to talk privately with the parents about their own relationships with Jesus. As God clearly states in Deut. 6: 4, 5 it is critically important that the parents first have their own relationship with God. If a parent wants you to “counsel” their child, make sure to talk with them FIRST about their own relationship with God. Most of the time, if a parent is having difficulty with their child, it is because they themselves are not wholly committed to God. For more help in dealing with this challenge, click on the APPENDIX link below.