Photo Credit: Cruciform Press
Christian parents have an incredible privilege and responsibility to introduce their children to Jesus and his redemptive plan for their lives. My wife Lindsey and I have three very young children, and this is one of the things about parenting that we're looking forward to the most. Our hope is that each of our children will come to love Jesus and find their greatest joy in him, and that they will find their faith as foundational and integrative with their whole lives as they grow into adulthood. But this doesn't happen accidentally. A family going to church regularly isn't enough. In fact, studies have shown that the majority of teens who grew up in church graduate from church at the moment they graduate from high school. David Kinnaman's book YOU LOST ME has provided incredible insight on this problem.
Clearly, to raise children who love Jesus and pursue the desires of his heart relentlessly requires an intentional kind of parentinga kind of parenting specifically focused on their spiritual formation. Tad Thompson has written an incredibly insightful and practical book that addresses this issue called INTENTIONAL PARENTING. Thompson's premise is that discipleship of our children is merely supplemented by our church activity, and it's their everyday lives with us that most shape who they will become from a spiritual perspective.
Thompson gives some important categories to get parents focused on exactly what biblical content they want to impress upon their children. These seven categories and their implications for discipling my children were my favorite part of the book. The seven categories are:
1. The Gospel
2. The Big Story (Biblical Theology)
3. The Big Truths (Systematic Theology)
4. The Great Commission
5. Spiritual Disciplines
6. Christian Living
Thompson unpacks each of these categories with specific focus on the Gospel. I can imagine my children growing up with a solid anchor of what God wants for their lives as a result of impressing these things on their lives.
I love Thompson's description of the goal of discipleship with our children: “The ultimate goal of discipleship is that our children will come to delight in the grace of God and desire to love and obey him.” Thompson also describes four “spheres” of family discipleship, which are very helpful to show how parents can live out family discipleship day in and day out.
INTENTIONAL PARENTING is published by Cruciform Press. The books by Cruciform Press are short and focused on issues that are vitally important to believers. INTENTIONAL PARENTING is just such a vitally important book for Christian parents. For anyone who has wanted to raise their children to genuinely know and love Jesus, yet haven't been sure how to go about it, this book will be one of the most helpful you will have ever read.
I received this book for free for review from Cruciform Press