The Missionary Work of Parents

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Imagine a missionary working overseas with an unreached people group. He or she is unfamiliar with the culture and language and working without the help of a native or translator. The only culture this missionary knows is western and Christian.

It would be foolish for the missionary to engage with the culture the same way he or she engages with the American culture. Instead, the missionary would spend time doing what mission organizations call “missiology”—learning the culture, habits, and language. Missionaries are trained in this before they do anything else.

Parents, like missionaries, are trying to reach children who live in a very different culture. While your kids live in your community and speak the same language, their culture varies drastically. A steady stream of media shapes their assumptions, attitudes, and worldviews. This creates perspectives that are often different from your own. This can cause a lot of parents to interact with their children and wonder, “How could they do that?” or “What are they thinking?”

In the middle of the contrasting views and confusion, parents are often tempted to do one of two things:  Yell at their children to conform to their culture; or, simply give up. I encourage you to do neither of these things.

Jesus did not love us this way. He did not reach us with anger or apathy. What we have in the holy incarnation is the Son of God reaching us by becoming like us. He did not yell from heaven, demanding our repentance and belief. He became like us and compelled us to put our faith him. He entered our world.

If you want to reach your teenager you must learn who they are, what they are absorbing, how they think, what language they speak, what stresses them out, and what brings them joy. God knows us and loves us. This model should encourage us to know and love our kids, regardless of failures and differences. If we don’t understand our children, we end up loving a future version them instead of who they are now.

As you enter into a bit of your child’s life, you’re sending them a message: “You are loved, and I’m here to walk alongside you.”

Article appeared first at the College Park Church Resources blog.

Zach Cochran

Zach serves as the Assistant Pastor of Student Ministries at College Park Church in Indianapolis, IN. He received a B.A. focused in Philosophy from the University of Tennessee at Martin and received his M.Div. from Southern Seminary. Zach has been serving in student ministry for the last 9 years and has a deep commitment to stepping into student’s world for the sake cultivated gospel impact where they live, what they do, and where they go. You can follow him and Twitter and Instagram @zachccochran

Family Friday Links 6.9.17

Here's our weekly list of links to things we've found thought provoking and helpful.

Nichole Schwarz had a post on her Imperfect Families blog about parenting teens. She reminds parents to focus on the relationship. She says, "This may not be the easiest piece of advice, but research shows positive outcomes for teens who report having a good relationship with their parent." She goes on to list 5 ways to do this. Parents, these are helpful and worth your time.

Micheal Guyer recently had a post on Gospel-Centered Discipleship entitled "Making Disciples at Home". He reminds parents and churches, "Churches cannot replace parents and parents cannot be independent of the church." Both are necessary for the spiritual health of our kids. This is a super helpful reminder.

Following in line with the previous link, Mike Phay had a post on For The Church about how parents spiritually lead their kids; what to look for and what warning signs to look for. He writes, "... God has given you to your child as a leader, mentor, teacher and disciple-maker." As any Christian parent knows, their deepest desire for their kids is that they repent and believe. Sometimes that desire is either forced or parents see something that isn't there; both are dangerous.

What have you been reading online lately? Leave us a link in the comment section to check out.