Monday, April 4, 2011

Spiritual Gifts Part 2 - Helping Your Children Discover and Develop Their Gifts

In part one of this series on Spiritual Gifts and children, we affirmed that all believers who are following and trusting Christ are given gifts from the Spirit. Believe it or not, these truths apply to our children as well...yes, even your children! We also affirmed that the purpose of these gifts is to bring glory to God and to benefit the body of Christ, the church. As parents, or as adult believers in the local church, we are Godʼs chosen vehicles to guide children in their journey to spiritual maturity. For the season of childhood, God has provided healthy structure (the nuclear family and the church family) for our kids to grow and learn and discover who they are and how they are wired to interact with the world.  Proverbs 22:6 says:
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
This does not mean that we control the specific course or direction that a child should take. This means that we set the stage for them to discover how they are uniquely and specifically created, then encourage that path in them as they grow and develop in their love for the Lord.

Our kids desperately want to belong to a cause greater than themselves. Just like you and I, they are made for it! We are all designed for meaning, purpose and adventure. Just watch a group of kids playing together and you will see the fullness of humanity come to all of our glory and all of our brokenness. The children who continue in faith as adults are often the ones who are serving early and beginning to use their spiritual gifts for the glory of God today. Here are a few practical ways to help your children develop their gifts:

  • Observe your children as they interact with people, activities, and objects. Note how they learn best, and what emotional and behavioral traits they display. Make mental notes of what excites them and brings them to life. Talk to your children about their thoughts and feelings after a new experience...good or bad.
  • Study the Bible to learn more about spiritual gifts. Check out Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4. As you read these passages, look for words that speak to your heart about your children. Share these verses with your kids, and remind them (many times over) that God has made them uniquely and perfectly (Psalm 139) and has a great plan for their lives (Jeremiah 29).
  • Provide opportunities for them to serve. As they uniquely experience situations in life, they will grow uniquely passionate about God and about ways that they can be of service in His Kingdom. Encourage them to take an active role in programs at church, at school, and in your neighborhood community. Try serving together as a family, and then evaluate what your children liked best and why.

Helping our children discover their unique spiritual gifts will not happen overnight. It is a process which we are privileged to be a part of for a long season. Intentional parents will shepherd their childrenʼs hearts, not just try to control or modify their behavior (we will discuss this more in Part 3 of this blog series). So when the time comes for them to launch into the world and live independently, they could be well on their way to becoming the men and women that God created them to be...with practical gifts to serve the church, the world, and their own children one day.

- Ed Sweeny, Pastor to Families

1 comment:

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