Principle #1: Parents and the surrounding community of adults are expected to exemplify what it means to be fully-devoted followers of God. This expectation of total devotion is indicated in several portions of the Deuteronomy 6 passage. First, to declare “The LORD our God, the LORD is one …” is no small matter. It is a covenant agreement in which the people of Israel agree to follow the “one and only God” with absolute loyalty and obedience. This pledge of allegiance, often read aloud, starting with the words “Hear, O Israel,” is a “summons to those who would be Israel in any age” to align themselves with the work and will of the LORD.
Principle #2: Adults, starting with parents, are commanded to be active participants in their childrens’ spiritual formation. Several portions of the Deuteronomy 6 passage indicate parental and community involvement in a child’s spiritual formation. First, “Impress them on your children” is a phrase that indicates the parents’ responsibility and agreement to teach their children about the LORD. At the time that Moses authored this passage, the spiritual formation of children included the use of both formal and informal opportunities to teach and centered on the telling of family, tribal and national historical narratives of the Exodus and the experience of living in covenant relationship with the LORD.
Some of my thoughts:
Here at Eastview, we have more adults than ever working with our youth. Table parents, small group leaders, sponsors, they're all there. Each week, we consistently have students involved in our Sunday corporate worship, running sound or video, serving communion, singing. Many of our kids feel empowered and appreciated.
Please, re-read point 1 from above..."Parents and the surrounding community of adults are expected to exemplify what it means to be fully-devoted followers of God."
I'm wondering...in how many of our homes are parents "exemplifying what it means to be fully-devoted followers of God"? Here, perhaps is the "right" question...Parents, do you even know what is means to be a fully-devoted follower of God"? Week after week, the same families are MIA on Sunday mornings, not in Sunday School, not at LIFE Groups. How can we learn what it means "to be fully-devoted follwers of God" when we are not in places and situations where we are taught? Here's what I see at Eastview: in may cases, it is a "surrounding community of adults" calling your children to Jesus. And I have to ask one question. Why is that ok?
Which leads right to point 2..."Adults, starting with parents, are commanded to be active participants in their childrens’ spiritual formation."
I believe the operative word in point 2 is "active".
The Oxford American Dictionaries define the word "active" this way:
1 (of a person) engaging or ready to engage in physically energetic pursuits
• moving or tending to move about vigorously or frequently
• characterized by energetic activity
• (of a person's mind or imagination) alert and lively.
2 doing things for an organization, cause, or campaign, rather than simply giving it one's support
Here's the Oxford American Dictionary definition of the word "passive":
1 accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance
A few more questions, since I'm on a roll...
Based on the definitions above...are you actively or passively participating in your child's spiritual formation? Why?
Are you teaching your children to read the Bible, or are you letting us do that for you? Why?
Are you putting yourself in situations and positions so that you can learn those skills, and then pass them down? Why or why not?
Go, and sin no more.