Perspectives from an Ordinary Dad: Leading Your Family to Know God
I am an ordinary dad. Just like you. I am not a theologian, but I am a Christ-follower who desires to lead my family to know God and be known by him. As I walk with Jesus, these are some things I am learning and ways that he is shaping me as I lead my family.
Pursue the Lord Yourself
This seems ridiculously simple, but one cannot lead others down a path that they themselves are not currently going down. The Lord radically got a hold of my heart about three years ago to just sit with him every morning. I was encouraged by one of our elders to purchase a good ESV Study Bible (here’s the one I ended up landing on because I love RC Sproul), and I have set my alarm every day to wake up before my kids and spend some time in the Word and journal every day.
There are a few things that have absolutely been crucial in deepening this desire. One has been reading books by John Piper, RC Sproul, J.I. Packer . . . the list could go on forever here. Find an author that is sound in historic Christianity and this may help deepen your understanding and love for learning.
Find a Community Group to Study God’s Word Consistently
We are in a community group as a family, and I have absolutely enjoyed doing life with the brothers and sisters in our Church body. My wife and I also have been fed through being a part of the different men’s and women's groups that our church offers. One way or another, there is true growth in finding people who encourage each other to good works and loving the Lord.
Take Time To Teach Your Family What You Learned and Use Visuals
We routinely take time at either dinner, or just before we start a family activity for me to share what I am reading, or what my wife is reading to the kids. This has been such a fruitful time for us as our kids ask some amazing questions (often not about what we are reading, but about God in general).
I have found that my kids most remember what I shared when I give them some form of visual aid as opposed to just talking and discussing. One time, my son asked me, “Why did God create anything at all?” (I was like, Lord help me!!), and I began to talk about how the Bible does not directly talk about why God decided to create. I then asked my kids what they did know about God. They shot off answers like powerful, good, wise, merciful, creator, ruler, loving, defender, etc. After that I taught them that God would not go against any of those things that we know about him; that because he is good and loving, he would not create except for those qualities that they listed.
I then showed them my big study Bible and asked them to feel how heavy it is. I said that that Bible represents how much we can get to know about God. I then picked up a pencil and asked them to hold it and said that pencil represents questions that we may not know and that often we can get hung up on what we do not know instead of remembering what all we do know about God.
When their mom came home, they all went to her and showed her the example I showed them! I was so excited, and I am trying to figure out how to incorporate more examples like that in the future.
This past year, God built into our nightly routine reading before bed. We started with the Jesus Storybook Bible and read through it multiple times! I then got the idea to open up my ESV Reader’s Bible and set a goal of reading the whole counsel of God’s word to my kids through this Bible. Even though they might not understand it all, I get to pray over my kids every night something that God revealed about himself to us, and pray that we see him for who he really is.
Teach and Encourage Your Kids to Pray
I love hearing my babies pray. It is so sweet to hear what is on their hearts, what they are picking up on in the world and from us, and how they think or perceive who God is and how he works. Take the time to pray often. We pray before meals, when we hear emergency vehicles driving by, when we need help in a specific situation, before and after reading his Word together, and any other time the Spirit leads us to pray. The more natural and built into your life prayer becomes, the more natural it will become for your kids to pray.
From one ordinary dad to another, I encourage you to take the time to include some of these daily rhythms and activities into your life, and watch how the Lord works not only in your heart, but in the hearts of your wife and your children. Over the last three years of practicing these simple routine changes, the Lord has grown my desire for his Word, his wisdom, to follow him, and to teach my family about him.