In the opening chapter of Luke, a priest named Zechariah is visited by an angel to be informed that, despite the fact that both he and his barren wife, Elizabeth, are more than qualified for AARP benefits, they were going to have a son named John who would do some amazing things for God’s Kingdom.
In Luke 1:17, the angel tells Zechariah that his soon-to-be son will prepare the way for God, saying, “With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
What does an angel, John the Baptist, and this verse have anything to do with Radical Parents?
From my experience in youth ministry over the years, one of the things I’ve often asked God for is that the Holy Spirit would turn the hearts of parents to their children. I don’t say that to suggest that parents don’t love their students (they certainly do)
What I’m saying is that, when it comes to a student’s spiritual life, parents are generally more concerned about academics, the next baseball/volleyball/underwater-basket-weaving tournament, and college scholarship program than they are with their child’s relationship with God.
While those other concerns and activities certainly have their place, I wonder if parents are guilty of undermining their roll in their student’s faith. God has designed and placed parents as the primary spiritual influence in the lives of their children, and it’s a roll that is not to be taken lightly.
What if I told you that a student would learn more about what it means to follow Christ from his or her parent than they ever will from their youth ministers?
On average, churches get to spend about 40 hours per year pouring into the life of your student (if they regularly participate). How many hours do parents get with a student per year? About 3,000 hours!*
See the difference?
Now imagine if churches and families worked together to see God’s Kingdom grow in the hearts of students? What if parents began to spend just as much of their time and energy on their child’s relationship with Jesus as they do with school or sports? Even better, what if parents helped their students seek and find God in everything around them, including school and sports? (That’s another post for another time)
One of the most exciting things about Radical Parents is that it provides parents with another resource to help them fulfill their calling as the primary spiritual influence in the life of their student.
I’m not a parent of a teenager myself, but having spent almost the last ten years working with students on a weekly basis, I’ve been privileged enough to see God do some amazing things in the lives of teenagers and their families. Those years of experience have made me convinced of this:
As a parent, no one is more important in the spiritual life of your student than you are. So be radical.