Ok, so it’s not really the definitive guide…but I did put a lot of thought into this post. And it’s about twice as long as my normal ones. So I guess that counts for something!
A couple months ago I wrote about how being the spiritual leader of your family is the most important job a man has. You might be saying…great, but how do I do that?! That’s a fair question, and honestly I feel like the least qualified person to answer it. I feel like I fail in this subject more than I succeed. It’s only by the grace of God (and an awesome wife) that our family has any semblance of a solid spiritual foundation. Knowing this is an important subject, I’m going to put some thoughts together about it. Hopefully these will help organize ME to do better as well as encourage you to be moving in the right direction if you’re not already.
To effectively lead your family spiritually, I think there are three main things that need to take place.
1. YOU need to have a solid spiritual walk.
Before you can have any impact on anyone else, I feel the most important thing is that YOU need to be praying and reading the Bible on a regular basis. If you are not seeking after God, then how can you expect to lead your family? It would be like a manager trying to run a factory full of workers when he didn’t know anything about how the factory operated. If you are seeking after God the way you need to, then you will be much more likely to be able to lead, teach, and encourage others. Also, the BEST way to lead is by example. If your wife and kids see you following after God, without even saying anything, you will be teaching them.
- Download the YouVersion Bible app and sign up for a Bible reading plan.
- Have a certain time each day (or certain days during the week) where you spend time in prayer and devotional time.
- Get a devotional book to help get you going.
- Join a men’s Bible study.
Although I feel like I struggle in this area, I did recently finish up a 12 month Bible reading plan. Using YouVersion, I read through the whole Bible in 12 months. It is amazing to see things from a different perspective when you read through in larger chunks.
2. Make sure you and your wife are growing TOGETHER
This could be from you, your church, the Bible, other books, other people, etc. Being a leader doesn’t mean you have to do it all, just that you’re responsible for making sure it happens.
What stinks about this, is that out of all my husbandly attributes, this has historically been one of my weakest areas. Julia and I have tried a lot of different methods to help grow our spiritual lives as a couple, but we’ve had a tough time being consistent with any of them. It has led to her being frustrated…not wanting to nag me, but wanting me to step up and take the initiative.
- Praying together at bedtime
- Praying together ANYTIME you think about it
- Reading through a book of the Bible then discussing
- Reading a devotional book and discussing a chapter each week
- Listening to podcasts of sermons while riding in the car
- Try to be purposeful in conversations and sharing what God is doing in your lives
- Set aside a time each week where, after the kids are in bed, you carve out time for spiritual growth together (reading bible or devotional book, talking about things you’ve learned, etc). Putting these times on the calendar ahead of time is a good way to remember.
One of the best things we’ve tried, that we’re doing right now, is going through the Beth Moore study on Daniel. Yes, Beth Moore is generally directed toward women, but it’s good stuff! We’ll do the workbooks on our own, then get together to watch the video sessions. It’s been nice to be able to really get deeper into the Word together and be able to talk about it.
3. Make sure your kids are getting the right foundation
Again, this could be from you, your wife, the church, or other people. What’s important is that you make sure it is happening. As someone who grew up in the church, it is easy for me to take for granted biblical knowledge. It’s easy to forget that knowledge has to be learned. And our kids aren’t going to learn about God on their own…or from watching TV or playing on the iPad.
- Get a kids devotional book and read each night at dinner or bedtime
- Bring them to church / sunday school / youth group
- When you see something beautiful or amazing in nature, point out to your kids how amazing it is that God created it
- When your kids do something bad, take the opportunity to talk about the nature of sin with them and why we need a rescuer to save us from it.
- Find opportunities to serve other people WITH your kids. If you model the behavior, and explain to them WHY we help others, it will help develop good habits for them.
All kids are different, but Eli is a creature of habit…and so are we. So, we’ve found that by coming up with a routine (like devotional at bedtime…or whatever) we are MUCH more likely to stick with it. And if we forget, Eli will let us know.
Here are a few books that we’ve used and LOVE!! The Jesus Storybook Bible is a great kids Bible that you can read to them daily. It is easy to understand, but also makes stories relatable to WHY they are important. I highly recommend it. Also, we have been using a family devotional book called Long Story Short. It works for a wide age range of kids and is amazing!
My challenge to you:
Evaluate how well you are meeting each of these 3 points. How is YOUR spiritual walk? If you feel it needs something fresh to get you going, try one of the ideas above. How do you and your wife participate in spiritual growth TOGETHER? If it’s not happening much, try one of the ideas above. And lastly, are your kids getting the spiritual guidance they need? If not, what can you do to make that happen?
***As I mentioned, I can definitely use some help in this topic. So…I’d love to hear from you! What are some different ideas for any of the 3 areas that you have done that you feel have been helpful? Enter your ideas in the reply/comments area below!***