When my daughter was in 8th grade, I taught her girls’ club at my church. Those girls became my spiritual children. Through a year of Bible lessons and craft projects, we got involved in each other’s lives. We encouraged and challenged each other. We talked through faith lessons, and prayed over life’s struggles. I invested in them, and they in me. I became, in part, a spiritual parent.
As they approach adulthood, I want to see them claim their identity as God’s children. I want them to know how much their God loves them and desires to be in a relationship with them. I want them to submit to his leading in their lives. I want them to know how their Father desires them to live as young women, called by God.
My hopes for them to meet my Jesus can’t end with just my thoughts and wishes. It must translate into words and actions. I need to talk with these girls about their life choices and help them wrestle with the hard questions of faith. I must make myself available to them to create an opportunity to share the concerns of their hearts.
I am currently meeting weekly with one of those girls as we explore a public profession of faith, walking through a booklet and talking about the basics of faith. Over ice-cream, we discuss what it means to commit to following Jesus in all aspects of life. It is a small thing to hang out drinking milk shakes and talking about the ups and downs of the Christian faith, but it is so vitally important. That investment by someone other than her parents shows that the church cares. It gives the kids a mentor to talk with and normalizes questions of faith as part of life. It is both a small part of what the church does to raise up the next generation and a personal response to God’s call to me to share what he has done in my life.
In Deuteronomy 6, we are told to keep God’s commandments on our hearts and to impress them upon our children. We are to talk about them through all of the normal activities of the day. Whether we are beginning our day, ending our day, traveling the roads, or relaxing at home, we need to share our love for God with those that God has placed in our life. This command was central to Jewish life and it should be central to our lives as well. We should be regularly sharing about how God is at work in our life.
We all have people in our lives that could benefit from some Christian mentoring. We have people in our neighborhoods and communities that we know are still young in the faith or maybe are still wrestling with their faith. Are we taking the time to get to know them and coming alongside them as they explore spiritual issues? How can you encourage them to spend time getting to know their savior better? We do this as parents, but we also do this for other people’s kids. It’s part of being in the community of faith. Imagine how we could transform the world if we all stepped up to our spiritual parenting role!