Whether you grew up in a small church or a big church, I can probably tell you who your first student ministry worker was. It was your dad. Now, you could make an argument that it was your mom, but let’s be honest. Your mom was there to keep you alive. She fed you, cleaned you and made sure you looked cute in the church nursery. It was your dad that would throw you up in the air and try to make you laugh. That sounds a lot like many of the student ministry workers I know. But in all seriousness, our fathers are called to pour into our lives spiritually. Hopefully, that happened in your home. It doesn’t always happen that way, but it doesn’t change the responsibilities we find in God’s Word. The Bible says:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deut. 6:4-8 ESV).
That transfer of knowledge and understanding happens in two ways:
• It is taught. As fathers, we are to teach our children the truth of God’s Word. That doesn’t mean we have to sit in a formal setting and draw out diagrams, but it does mean we have to talk about it. We have to use words and communicate the reality of our faith with the little people God has put in our lives. If we don’t, they will never understand how important that relationship is. As this passage describes, it is a matter of continual conversation that happens as we navigate the day-in and day-out responsibilities of life. For some of us, it is easier to talk about the Razorbacks or our favorite hobby than to talk about our relationship with Jesus. It is important that we make a change in that area. We need to make Jesus big in our lives and talk about Him every day.
• It is caught. What we do in this life matters. If we have children in our homes, there are little eyes always watching and little ears always listening. If you make Sunday worship a priority, your children see that. If you spend time in the Word, your children see that. If you choose to use “colorful” language, they see and hear that as well. What you do will be “caught” by the children in your life.
Philips, Craig, and Dean released a song several years ago called, “I want to be just like you.” It shared the idea that the children in our lives will want to be just like us, so we must pray and ask God to help us be “just like You because he wants to be just like me.” That is my prayer for you as you lead the children in your lives. Ask the Father to shape you, so your influence will be for the good.
Special Recognition for Fathers
I want to thank the WMA of Prospect Missionary Baptist Church of Jonesboro. They recently made a donation of $120 to the work of the BMA of Arkansas Youth Department in honor of the fathers of their church. This is a special blessing for our ministry as we start preparing in earnest for our annual Student Ministry Workers Retreat on Sept. 17. I am so thankful for this WMA group and all of our fathers as they invest in the spiritual development of their children.