Parents, we all have a ministry to fulfill. We have one prepackaged just for us. Timothy tells us quite pointedly, “But as for you (put your name here), keep a clear head about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5).
When you think of the word “ministry” what comes to mind? Often people think of a church ministry such as, children, youth, Pastoral, leading a small group, Bible teaching, benevolence, hospitality and all that makes a church run; some may think of missions, outreach events, etc.
But as a parent, what is your ministry?
Often we make the mistake of thinking that ministry is just outside the home. We think that we are doing nothing for the Lord unless we are serving in soup kitchens, the nursery, at youth camps or from the pulpit. The reality is this, God has placed you as a parent in a very strategic place of ministry; he has prepackaged an opportunity for you to serve His kingdom with great impact and influence. Yes, indeed, this is not where our ministry ends, but it is where it begins. Being a parent who ministers to our children doesn’t mean we do nothing outside the home for the Lord.
You see, we have two roles to fulfill:
They both are intertwined. I did not learn how to lead a Children’s Ministry because I went to seminary. I’m not against seminary, and I’m sure I would have learned much there if I had attended. But the best training ground for me was in the home. My text was the word of God and my experience was being a mom. From these I have learned to lead, coordinate, plan, fail, counsel, mentor, teach, empower, suffer, and make disciples of Jesus Christ. My prayer since my oldest was two years old has been, “Lord, teach me so that I can teach them.” This training ground has taught me how to lead a ministry to children and their parents with more than just training, it’s been with the power of the Holy Spirit and great personal conviction. (1 Thessalonians 1:5). It started at home. It started with my children. They were and will always be my first ministry. The good news is this, from the home God birthed more…
Parents, you have one of the greatest ministries of all kinds sitting right in your lap. They have big blue or brown or hazel eyes. They have dirt on their shoes, chocolate on their faces, runny noses; they practice your patience with temper tantrums, whining, arguing, and dirty rooms. They endear you with hugs, handmade cards, and sweet angelic sayings. They comfort you when your are sad and you comfort them when they are sad. They are thirsty, hungry, and in need of great physical care. They are tiring but awesomely wonderful. They are the creation of God that is most beautiful in our world. Nothing compares to them. They are remarkably and fearfully made by the hand of our Great God. Who cannot see that they are amazing? But they are more, they are also souls that need saving!
They are sweet and wonderful but also filled with a sinful nature that if not extinguished, it will grow and become more and more evil in their life. If we take seriously their sinful nature and their need for a Savior by sharing with them Christ’s sacrifice, His word and His love for them, then we will grow that sweet wonderful little being into a fully devoted follower of Jesus. If not, our lack of fulfilling our ministry to them will grow their sinful desires and quench the Spirit’s purpose we have in their little life.
It is to these that you have been given the opportunity to mold as a life for Christ. Young children are more willing to receive Christ, which makes your job easier. Your teen may be in a difficult phase of life where it’s hard for them to receive from you, but you can overcome that. They are still trying to figure out who they are, so adapting to you is hard for them; your job is to adapt to them and learn how to relate to their needs. You can do this! Study your children, and meet them where they are, then lead them to salvation in Jesus Christ. This takes time, work, effort and sometimes heartache. But this is your ministry, so I challenge you live it! You have the great hope and glory of the world to share with them. I beg you to “endure the parenting hardships, do the work of an evangelist in your children’s hearts, and fulfill your God ordained ministry to them.” You will never be sorry that you did, but you will be sorry that you didn’t.
So armor up, “endure hardship with the rest of us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus” and get busy! You have work to do, purpose in life, and a great adventure awaiting you! You CAN do this!