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How Do I Teach My Children The Importance Of Living For Christ?

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It’s one of those days. There is no school; I have work, and currently I can hear my kids running through the halls of the church screaming. And as one kid shoves another in a race down a hall, I’m thinking how ironic it is that on my calendar today is a task I’ve been given: write a blog on parenting. Not just a blog on parenting but How Do I Teach My Children The Importance Of Living For Christ. And I’m assuming that I’m like most parents, and that many days we are just praying that our feeble attempts at parenting our children won’t get in the way of all the grace and greatness God has for them.

So, I bring my loud ones back to my wing of the building so others can work. I bend low to talk to a child and address a heart matter. I search His word. I inhale. I gather up my Bible and all my little Post-It notes with short, scribbled ideas. And I bend and pray that He has good words and wisdom for all of us parents that are far beyond my own abilities because I know that ultimately their redemption is dependent on their Redeemer.

And as I think about the posture of humility He has brought me to in my role as mother, I know that this is where we start.  

We bend.

We bend low to pray with and for our kids.  As we bend, they see how to pray, and as we bend God teaches us how to pray. He changes all of us through prayer and our declared need for Him. We start our days in the early hours bending on their behalf, and they hear us pray for them around the dinner table or by their beds. Their names become a refrain of our cries as we beg their Savior to give them an overwhelming need for Him in their lives. We show our kids that their prayers are worthy to be heard as well and teach them to talk to their Maker. If we choose to make speaking to the Father a constant and familiar part of our family’s culture, when our kids are alone in their darkest moments, they know that His Name is the One they call out. If we want our kids to live for Christ, we ask Him to give them a love for Him and show them how to talk to One we want them to live for.

We bend low to serve. Jesus bent low to talk to the crippled man, wash His disciples’ feet, make healing balm out of mud, write in the dirt as He sent away the woman’s accusers. We kneel to help a stranger with dropped groceries, we stoop to offer food to the man on the street corner, we sit on the carpet to read the Sunday school lesson to preschoolers in our church. We bend to our child’s level to connect with and correct them, to kiss a knee, tie a shoe, and pick them up for a hug. If we want our children to live for Christ, we show them the posture their Savior took.

We seek.

We seek Him in His Word. We show our kids how powerful and important His Word is by showing them its power manifested in our lives and its prominence in our day-to-day schedule. We teach our kids how to read the Bible together and alone and how to memorize it. We tell them how it has changed our life in the past, but we also show them how it is changing our life currently. We find ways for our kids to see that Christ was God’s plan for redemption from the very beginning of His Word and that the very blueprint for living for Christ is found in these pages. When they hear us speak His Word aloud in our day-to-day tasks, they see that knowing it is important and that His truth can be applied to all aspects of our lives. If we want our children to live for Christ, we show them through the Word how Christ lived.

We seek Him with others. When we make church attendance a priority, our kids become comfortable in the walls of the church and see it as a place to run to instead of a place to flee from. They recognize the people there as extended family, and when they stand and sing alongside the saints on Sunday morning, they begin to see that God’s church is vast and diverse. As we seek Him alongside others, our kids find that community is vital for accountability and encouragement. They discover that following Christ is costly, but that God had a plan to provide reprieve and joy through spiritual family wherever He may lead them. If we want our children to live for Christ, we show them how to love Christ’s bride.


There are so many things we need to do as parents to teach our kids about their great Savior and their great need for Him. But we all need a place to start. So, we bend and seek, and we pray 2 Thessalonians 2:15 that they will “stand firm and hold fast to what we have taught them.” We must believe firmly and live in the conviction that if we do not teach them to fill up their days with Jesus, the world will teach them to fill up their days with everything else. Hoping that our children will live for Christ is futile if we aren’t living for Christ ourselves. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul tells the church “be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” He doesn’t say this because he’s being arrogant but because he knows many of these new believers don’t know how to imitate Christ. This is the same with our children. Right now, we are the visual example of Christ that they see and understand. We pray that despite our clumsy efforts and because of His great grace, as we bend and seek, our children will learn to bend and seek, and He will instill living for Him in ALL of us.

Beth Edfeldt
Director of Preschool and Children
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4 Practices That Make A Difference For Gospel-Minded Parents

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Parenting is tough. It’s messy and exhausting. But it’s also sanctifying and rewarding. If there is one thing I have become more aware of since the day I became a mom, it is that I am insufficient; I am selfish; I am depraved. I know that my kids need me, but I am fully aware they need their Heavenly Father more.

Unfortunately, there is no way to write a few sentences that will solve all our parenting problems. The reality is, any parent who writes about parenting is just a sinner talking about raising sinners. And no matter how we parent or how much we pray, there is nothing we can do to guarantee our children embrace the truth of the Gospel. Ultimately, any “good behavior” and authentic heart change in our children is brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit.

In my insufficiency, I have watched, read, asked, listened, noticed, observed, prayed. And any little bit of “good” that I have done in my parenting has been by the grace of God and by learning from others.               

Here are 4 parenting practices that I have noticed making a difference for Gospel-minded families:

  1. Intentionality. Deuteronomy 6: 5-7 says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

Intentional parents recognize that their time with their children is limited. They have about 936 weeks with their child from birth until they are 18. Therefore, intentional parents take advantage of their weekends, their time around the dinner table, their time in the car, their bedtime routines; making sure to press into their children the truths that God has pressed into them.

They hold all their decisions up to the light of the Word and seek to make choices (schooling, activities, holidays, worship, fashion, work, finances, where they live, etc) through the filter of His will for their family and not through the filter of cultural expectations.  They recognize that they are the manager of their family’s schedule. They recognize that if their child is in school all day and extracurricular activities every evening, then the majority of their child’s time is spent under the influence of other adults, so they choose wisely. They know the power of a family gathered around a dinner table instead of a TV and so they make family mealtime happen. They believe that family worship is not just for Sundays but can happen every day in their home.

They ensure that their children know that everyone does not look like them or have all the stuff that they do. They provide their children opportunities to serve. They make sure their children know that God’s heart is for them but His heart is also for the hungry kid in their school and the orphan across the globe.

When we parent with intentionality we believe in the power of our testimony for our kids and future generations so the work of the Lord in our lives is a constant refrain of our lips.  If we are intentional parents, our children will grow up knowing that we firmly believe the truth of the gospel because we consistently spoke it to them in our homes.

Questions to ask ourselves:
  • If someone else were to ask my kids what was important to their mom and dad, what would their answer be?
  • Am I consistently praying for God to direct my decisions and am I willing to do things differently from the culture if God asks me to?


  1. Consistency. Gospel-minded parents recognize that, as inconvenient as it can be, the key is consistency with their presence, their expectations, and their actions.

They intentionally spend time engaged with their kids with this message communicated: you as an individual are important, and we as a family are important. Consistent parents make a priority to gather around the dinner table, turn off screens frequently, know their child’s interests, connect in some small way with their child every day. They are consistent about showing up in their child’s life.

These parents know that discipline is often inconvenient, but they do it anyway because they know the end result is more important than the temporary frustration. They recognize that constant nagging and begging do not produce actions when there is never any follow through.  Parents with well-behaved children are parents whose children know what is expected of them and know what the consequences are if they do not act with obedience.  These children aren’t constantly wondering if they can get away with a bad behavior, nor do they constantly feel as if they have no idea what their parent’s idea of a bad behavior is.

Finally, they recognize that if they want to develop character in their own child they must consistently model that behavior in their own lives. These parents understand the weight and responsibility of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.”

If we want our children to be patient, they must see that we extend that patience to them and others. If we want them to go the extra mile and help others even when it's inconvenient, then we must not regularly communicate to our kids that they are an inconvenience to us. If we want our kids to pray and be in the Word, then they must see us pray and be in the Word. We cannot expect our kids to act one way, when we do not model that behavior ourselves.  Psalms 101:2 says, “I will live with a heart of integrity in my house.” Living with integrity in the world begins with living integrity in our home first.

Questions to ask ourselves:
  • Do I model the character I want my children to develop?
  • Do my children know what I expect of them? Are my expectations and responses unclear or inconsistent?


  1. Grace giving. Gospel-minded parents discipline but also practice grace. They talk about it often. They know that their discipline has the ability to heal or destroy. Colossians 3:21 says “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they don’t become discouraged.” When we parent with grace, we recognize that our children need to hear truth, love, and encouragement spoken into their hearts and minds more than they hear frustration, nagging, and discouragement. These parents aren’t just seeking to modify behavior so that it is more convenient and acceptable, but rather they are seeking to direct their child’s heart toward Christ. 

Their children know that their parents mess up because their parents are humble enough and intentional enough to acknowledge their mistakes and ask for forgiveness. These kids know that when they mess up they can ask forgiveness from their parents and receive it (even if there are consequences). These parents edify their children and protect them, knowing that even at a young age they can feel shame and embarrassment. They do not broadcast their mistakes to the world. These children feel comfort in the knowledge that home is a safe place for them to make mistakes and learn from them. They know that their parents aren’t perfect but the God they serve is. This truth is constantly magnified in their home.

Parenting with grace means we constantly ask ourselves if we simply want well- behaved kids or if we want gospel-advancing children; are we simply modifying behavior or seeking to direct hearts toward the things of God?  When we parent with grace we recognize that while we can try to control the behavior of our child only the Holy Spirit can produce authentic heart change.

Questions to ask ourselves:
  • Do I discipline my children out of fear and frustration because their behavior is inconvenient or embarrassing? Or do I discipline with love and consistency because I want to direct them to Christ-like behavior?
  • Am I willing to admit to my children when I make mistakes and ask their forgiveness? Do I offer forgiveness to them when they ask? Do I hold their past mistakes over them?


  1. Humility. Gospel-minded parents recognize they aren’t perfect, they don’t have all the answers, and they can’t do everything on their own. They spend considerable time on their knees and an abundance of time in the Scriptures. Their children hear them praying, see them searching the Word, and they embrace the invitation to worship and see God together not just in the church but as a family in the home. The name of Jesus is called on often in their everyday lives, not just for their kids’ sake, but because the parents recognize they need to hear His name spoken often too.

Humble parents seek the wisdom of others.  They find those blazing a trail before them and they follow them. They ask their advice and make sure it lines up with the Word of God. They ask to be a part of the trail blazers lives so they can learn from their experience. They read books, listen to sermons and podcasts, and posture themselves with ears open to constant learning and evaluating.

Proverbs 11:2 says, “When arrogance comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom.”  Did you catch it? “…with humility comes wisdom.” When we humble ourselves under His authority, the Holy Spirit grants us wisdom that we aren’t capable of by ourselves. When we recognize and acknowledge our weaknesses as parents, we get to see God show off His strength as the Father.

Questions to ask ourselves:
  • Am I praying for my parenting and interceding for my kids?
  • Am I humble enough to be consistently learning in my parenting?


If we talk about the powerful practices of parents that make a difference we must first consider what our goal in parenting is: are we trying to raise “good” kids who grow up to choose well-paying careers, provide us with the right number of grandkids, and live in a house close to us? Or are we trying to raise courageous children who are seeking to advance the kingdom of God?

While I typed out these practices, I felt the sting of conviction in my own inadequacies and inconsistencies. The Holy Spirit was prompting me to write things because I needed to hear them. You and me… we can find comfort knowing that when we are weak, He is strong. We will fail as parents but God always succeeds as perfect Father.

Beth Edfeldt
Director of Preschool and Children








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