An Open Letter to Parents, Grandparents, Relatives, and Friends of Children:
Just this week hundreds of children flooded into our sanctuary for a blessing on the launch of a new school year. There they were decked out with new shoes, full backpacks, fresh haircuts, and smiles (mostly). To the parents and relatives who have helped to feed them, dress them, raise them, and wrangle them to church, well done! I remember with joy those days in my younger years as a parent. It’s as crazy as it is exciting.
The Book of Common Prayer sympathizes with those of us who care for children: “…Give us calm strength and patient wisdom as we bring them up, that we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ.”
In the spirit of this prayer, as we begin another school year, I want to encourage you to make a commitment alongside your children. There is one area of your children’s lives which deserves your full attention: their Christian education.
Every child needs the grace and love of Jesus, and they also need to know how that grace and love can be lived out every day. That’s what Christian education is for.
If your children believe in Christ, do they know why they believe? The Scriptures routinely call believers to understand the faith, defend the faith, and share the faith. As I see it, your children will need these skills more with each passing year, as they grow older and their worlds get bigger.
Parents, you are your children’s primary teachers. With Christ’s help, you can and should lead them toward conversion and Christian education. But please remember that the church can be your strongest and most able ally in this. Your church’s leaders are for you. They will come alongside you and your children with their time, energy, ideas, and prayers. They can make the task of clearly communicating the joy and love of Jesus Christ much easier, and they can model how to live the Christian life in a robust way.
There are significant challenges to answering this high call of parenting, I know. But I urge every parent to answer the call that God has upon your life, in your unique situation, for the development of your child as a day-by-day follower of Jesus Christ.
Let me encourage you to make week-by-week attendance at your church a non-negotiable in your family. When other things come into your child’s life (or yours) and compete for time, making weekly Christian education (and worship) a top priority shows its importance to their future. While they are still under your roof, they are under your spiritual leadership and protection. Just as school is non-negotiable, so is the work of Christian education at your church.
(This letter was first sent to the membership of the Christ Church .)