By Liwei Zhang, Children’s Pastor, Milton Missionary Baptist Church
Motherhood has enlightened me with new perspectives on the application of faith in the lives of a mother and a child. The authenticity of the parent’s faith is crucial to developing faith in the young ones. In the research article “Hemorrhaging Faith,” it was discovered “hypocrisy” is one of the main toxic reasons why young people who grow up in church leave the Church. My two children see me at home and at church, as a mother and pastor. At home, they are sitting in the front row observing if I’m a hypocrite of the faith or a real Jesus-follower. My philosophy is to let God’s Word be more than just a Sunday School lesson. Through our regular day-to-day activities, I want my kids to develop a natural integration between God’s Word and their life, and see that our faith is real.
I am serving at a Chinese Church where the majority of parents are first-generation immigrants, and they came to know God later in life. Most of the parents did not grow up in a Christian home. Many families depend on Sunday School to teach their kids about faith, but that is not enough. The display of our faith cannot be only in a classroom on Sunday. Our faith has to be shown to the children in our regular day-to-day lives; therefore, the parents have the most important role in ministering to their children. Families can easily get busy with extracurriculars, tutoring, sports, and so on. I’ve heard it said that children are great observers, but horrible interpreters; for some families, the children end up learning that since church attendance is reserved for when “I’m not busy,” then a relationship with Jesus is not as important as my success. Some children learn that, just like their parents, they ought to behave one way during Sunday, and another way in their “real lives.” As the Church, we need to help parents (through guidance, instruction, and prayers) in ministering to their kids.