You are asking God to bless a child and family, but this also is a public statement by the parents of their intention to dedicate the child unto the Lord (Proverbs 22:6). The premise of this is to raise a child as the Lord instructs in His Word. We, the Church, must take this public dedication seriously and if we do, we will have a plan in place that provides biblical instruction on how to raise a child. As you will learn from our workbooks, this involves more than bringing them to Sunday school, Church, or even having devotionals at home. Parenting is challenging and they must be operating from a strong spiritual foundation as individuals and as a couple to be successful.
As we mentioned before, people train for their vocations, some for many years, and it also takes time and experience before an employer gives an employee much responsibility. Most parents have no training in parenting despite the fact that God’s Word is full of instruction. Confusion may occur when people do not know that the Scriptures are not all contained in one spot, and because people tend to look to their own parents for instruction. Before dedicating a baby, Church leaders should provide either a small group parenting class or a personal meeting in order to take them through the parenting workbook. Teaching parents how to create a loving atmosphere at home, having regular devotional time, prayer, appropriate family activities and proper discipline is vitally important to a child’s development. Statistics show that when most of today’s children leave home, they are increasingly walking away from faith in God.
As people experience the blessings of discipleship in these areas, it also lays a foundational understanding and vision for discipling others. As you explain that this child is dedicated to God because he/she is actually a gift placed within their care, to be raised according to His instruction, they will see the need for being discipled.
Again, parents must be an example of personal holiness themselves, or the application of parenting principles will not be as effective. Discipling is not providing the video series and workbooks to go through on their own, but requires that someone follow-up with them after each lesson. When people are not assisted, they often stray in their commitment of time and can also be distracted by information from non-biblical sources. Also, there are steps that need to be followed and consistency is often difficult.
A youth pastor often has important insight on the families of children he is pastoring. It is important to establish communication between the youth pastor, the family pastor (if applicable), and the senior pastor to identify those with problems. This helps with efforts to reach families struggling with marital or parenting issues. Paul told the Ephesian leaders, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the Church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). This is why it is so important to train youth pastors and assistants in both personal discipleship and God’s plan for raising children. Youth pastors need this training to effectively minister by identifying spiritual problems and offering biblical solutions.
It is common for parents to call or meet with the youth pastor for perspective or even advice on dealing with a child. A youth pastor often has the opportunity to help a child stay connected to the Lord and their parents as well. The senior pastor needs to know the spiritual knowledge of the youth pastor who is representing not only the Church, but God, as they give counsel to youth and parents seeking help. Can you see how the discipleship program creates a network of spiritual connection within a Church, both in the leadership and among the flock? This is how God intends for His children to be edified.
Youth Mentoring: There are many single-parent families in society as well as many youth with non-Christian parents. Ministering to these groups is the basis and primary focus for a youth mentoring program, which is a great way to share the love of Christ with a child that has a fractured relationship with an absent father or mother (James 1:27), or no Christian influence in the home. Pray and seek the Lord’s guidance for raising up a youth-mentoring coordinator with the spiritual gifts and heart to reach these children. Visit our website www.FDM.world for a guide on how to get establish this program.
1) Pray. The Bible says that we not only wrestle against our flesh but also against spiritual principalities and powers of darkness. Satan has caused blindness and confusion in these areas of discipleship; pray for God’s truth to triumph in our Churches and homes and to raise up many disciples.
2) Train the leadership. Pastors and leaders, it starts with you. Lay out a vision and strategy for discipleship in your own life and then for the congregation. Abiding in Christ must be the top priority, then marriage and parenting. Remember, Timothy 3:4-5 says that when a leader’s home is not in order, their ministry will be weak.
3) Designate a pastor or lay minister to oversee the ministry. Discipleship is God’s will for every believer but, in many cases, it is a new concept. The vision for establishing a (priority focus of the Church) comes from the pastor through preaching and exhortation of the congregation; the importance of discipling must be communicated and a strategy implemented.
From the Founder – Craig Caster
I pray that this information has blessed and encouraged you. Please let us know if we can help establish an ongoing discipleship ministry in your Church. Our materials are being used worldwide and we currently have much of it translated into Spanish, Russian, and German. God is blessing people around the world with the truths contained in our workbooks, and we are continually reaching out to new countries by conducting conferences and helping Churches get started with integrating a discipleship model.
May the Lord bless you, your family, and your ministry in Christ,
Pastor/Founder of FDM