I recently finished reading a great parenting book that I want to commend to you: Visionary Parenting by Rob Rienow. I really appreciate this work by Dr. Rienow. The thing that I appreciate the most about this work is its accessibility. Visionary Parenting, in my opinion, is just good ole straight-forward, biblical parenting wisdom.
So what is Dr. Rienow’s great warning and wisdom for us for Visionary Parenting:
If we are not intentional with our parenting, we run the rist of ending up with a family filled with achievement, recreation, and niceness. God has a far grander plan for us and for our children. He created our families for a purpose. He gave us children for a reason.
What is that purpose? What is this reason? This is where Dr. Rienow gets it right and if we (parents) get this wrong, then we get it eternally wrong. We were created to know and to love God with our whole being! This is clearly explained in Matthew 22:35-38 and Deuteronomy 6:5-6. (Please read these passages)
When it comes to parenting, Deuteronomy does not just stop at loving God for ourselves – we are called to impress upon our children a deep love for God (Deut. 6:7). Dr. Rienow states,
I believe these five words, “Impress upon your children,” teach us that God’s primary plan of evangelism and discipleship is from parent to child. That is the order with which God created the world. His primary plan for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ is the family, beginning with the parent-child relationship.
He goes on,
The statistics are overwhelmingly clear that if we do not lead our children intentionally, passionately, fervently, to know God and love Him while they are in our homes, the likelihood of them giving their lives to Christ later in life is slim. In fact, only 23 percent of all the Christians in the United States became believers after the age of twenty-one. Why is this? It is because God has given the greatest responsibility and power for evangelism to parents.
That last statement is not only helpful for parents but for youth workers as well. If this statement is true, which it is, then it should begin to shape our ministry, the way we think about reaching our students for Christ. I don’t think it should necessarily affect the way we shape our programs for students but perhaps it should shape the way our churches develop programs and teaching for adults. Perhaps youth workers need to have more regular meetings with adult leaders and pastors to begin to embrace this God-ordained vision of discipleship. These meetings should center around one key question, “How can we (the church) better equip our parents to disciple their children?”
“God created the family to be a discipleship center!” and He created the church to be an equipping center. Many families are everything but discipleship centers – some are child-centered, some are recreation-centered, some are entertainment -centered. What is your family centered around?
Searching question for parents: What kind of “center” is your home?
Searching question for pastors and youth workers: What kind of “center” is your church?
I highly recommend the book. I have found it to be the most straight-forward, practical parenting book that I have read (disclaimer: I have not read all of them). If you’re wanting biblical wisdom for being the parent that God wants you to be, then buy the book. If you want to know some practical ways that you can start to disciple your child, then buy the book. If you’re needing wisdom for disciplining your child, then buy the book.