Last Sunday, Deidre and I got to stand before our church, and publicly "dedicate" ourselves as parents. We, along with about 40 other sets of parents, stood before the congregation. While we were holding Savannah, Pastor MacArthur asked us if it was our desire to raise her in fear and admonition of the Lord. With the accountability of the rest of our church, we declared that it was our desire to raise Savannah according to Scripture.
With our entire church looking at us, Savannah looking at them, and Deidre and I looking at our pastor, pastor John then briefly explained the duties of parents. God commands parents not to aggravate their children. We are to discipline our children, love them, and constantly point them to the gospel. We are to teach them about Jesus, show them their sin, and lead them to repentance.
To do this, we said we would expose them as much as possible to the influence of the church, to the leadership of the elders, and to godliness in the home. As we teach our daughter the gospel, she should see us daily living it out.
God made children in such a way that they implicitly trust their parents. While children are sinful, they are also helpless. Because of that, parents have a unique position of influence in their lives. Parents have a choice to make: they can use that influence for their own ends (either ignoring their children, or parenting them for some sundry goal), or they can use that influence to remind them of the God who made the world, encourage them to keep away from the sin that destroyed it, and point them to the Savior of all, Jesus Christ. We proclaimed that we would do the latter.
Then the congregation declared that they would aid us in this task. And they already are. Madison came home last week excited about the parable of the good Samaritan. Savannah is cared for by loving people who treasure Christ, and who want her to grow up to do the same.
Deidre and I are excited to be part of Grace Church, and thankful that we are raising our kids in this environment.