No, I am not referring to Grace Crossing Church. I know, I know, you are surprised! I am talking about the most influential church, or at least for kids: your home! Parents have more influence on their kids then pastors, teachers, TV stars, and athletes. This is due to their relationship to their kids and the sheer amount of time they spend with them.
Jay Strother has pointed out that “Even active students receive only forty hours or so of biblical instruction each from their churches. Parents, on the other hand, have more than three thousand hours a year in which they’re constantly ‘teaching’ their children in some way,” whether good or bad.
Today it is normal to outsource everything. If you don’t want to do something someone will be happy to do it for you for a fee. We used to cook, now that’s outsourced. We used to mow; somebody else can do that too. We used to… but now we have multiple businesses saying they can do it and do it better. We can outsource many things but we cannot, well, we shouldn’t outsource our children (Deut. 6:4-9; 11:19; 32:46-47; Ps. 78:5-6; Prov. 22:6). God has given parents the responsibility for the spiritual development of their children. No school or even church is responsible as the parents are.
As a pastor, it is my desire to teach the next generation of children to love the LORD with all they are (Deut. 6:4-9) yet I cannot do it; at least, not on my own. Therefore, my main task and that of the leaderships is not to equip all the children ourselves but to equip the parents to teach their children themselves (Eph. 4:11-12). This is both very practical and biblical because as I said, parents have both the primary responsibility and ability to teach their children. The church has approximately forty hours a year to the parents three thousand! Thus if parents can receive the equipping they need and take the time to teach their kids in love then they will find that they have the best little “church” in America.
In the last sermon that Jonathan Edwards preached in Northampton as pastor he famously said,
“Every family ought to be… a little church, consecrated to Christ and wholly influenced and governed by His rules. And family education and order are some of the chief means of grace. If these fail, all other means are like to prove ineffectual” (Elisabeth D. Dodds, Marriage to a Difficult Man, 45).
Parents please do not think that you can outsource your children’s spiritual development. You have the most impact on your children. You will be responsible before God for how you raise them.