SPIRITUAL PARENTING FOR CHURCH HEALTH
I am continually amazed at God’s ways of doing things. And nothing is more fascinating to me and God’s purpose in the family. He could’ve created humanity anyway He wanted to. He could’ve caused us to be born fully mature. But He chose instead to conceive us, give birth to us, as unformed humans in the care of a loving mother and father.
He placed the responsibility for our development in the hands of two individuals who would be in the ongoing process of their own development. He also intended that parents would be part of an extended family with grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and family friends.
It has always been in God’s heart that healthy people, thriving people, would be conceived, birthed, loved, raised, and sent out in the context of a thriving family. This is also true in the realm of the spiritual family as well.
As spiritual mothers and fathers we have been called upon to create a spiritual family to develop sons and daughters to full maturity as fathers and mothers in Christ. This does not mean merely maintaining them or childproofing their world to keep them safe from all harm… although that may be the way we deal with toddlers. But our goal is to raise them step-by-step through every stage of development until they’re finally ready to be sent into the real world to raise families of their own.
There are five essential elements that every thriving family needs to impart to it’s children for them to be fully equipped for spiritual adulthood. All of these elements are found in the Word of God, and are reinforced in the context of community.
These five elements are identity, community, maturity, responsibility and destiny. The following are various questions contained in these elements.
1. Identity: Who I am in Christ and who is Christ is in me? Who am I in the family and who am I in the world around me?
2. Community: How do I belong in the Body of Christ? How do I interact with others? How do I relate to those in authority? How do I collaborate and work with others?
3. Maturity: How am I growing up? How do I self-govern? How do I process questions and pain? How do I deal with conflict and forgiveness? How well am I cultivating character?
4. Responsibility: How am I growing in service to others? Am I faithful in little things? Am I able to manage my lifestyle? Am I able to serve others?
5. Destiny: Who am I becoming? What are my attributes? What is my gift mix? What are my dreams and passions? What is God calling me to accomplish in this life?
The triune God is a family, with true interpersonal relationships, and beyond what we can imagine. But it shows us that His model for life is family. And He designed human families to be the primary way to develop individuals.
The challenge is to do church as a family, with authentic spiritual parenting. The key to church health is to recognize that everyone is in a developmental process leading to maturity, and apply the principles of a loving and healthy family to all.