Growing Kids Ministry Blog

Chapter Three: Warm Hearts

This chapter focused on Family. It begins with a warning against living just to make your kids happy. Of course, parents don’t start out that way. We want what is best for our kids. We want them to grow to be healthy and responsible. However, sometimes the line is crossed. We’re so busy with possessions and experiences that sometimes important slips from view. How do we preven this in our families? Author Reggie Joiner gives a few suggestions, but first he addresses church leaders. He states, “I’m going to suggest something to you now that I hope you will never forget. If you’re a church leader, your purpose is not to equip parents to have exceptional parenting skills. If you set unrealistic expectations, you may create an atmosphere in which parents become discouraged and children get disillusioned…Unreasonable standards or ideals that are too lofty may be the reason that moms and dads who attend church get discouraged and give up and then frustrated leaders trying to motivate parents opt to bypass the family”

Now, onto rethinking family values (there is a quite a bit of “rethinking” in this book!).

Family Value #1 Imagine the End

Ultimately, our goal as parents should be for our kids to love God above all else. When Moses was giving his farewell speech to the Israelites, he reminded them again and again of what God had done and exhorted them not to walk away from the one true God. Sometimes as parents we’re so muddled down by feeding the kids, picking up their stuff, carting them here and there and trying to keep their grades up that we forget the crucial question “Who do I really want them to become?”. Fast forward twenty years and think about what kind of characteristics you want your children to be demonstrating. Chances are, they are godly characteristics. If so, what are we doing today to cultivate that? (Check out the Farrel’s book below to help with this!)

Family Value #2 Fight for the Heart

As Moses is addressing the Hebrew people he says something a little different: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your sould and with all your strength”. Reggie explains, “The only thing that seperates a living faith from a ritualistic orthodoxy is one word, one idea, one compelling force: Love” (p57). If we want to pass on a legacy to our children, it has to be done in the context of relationship. Rules and practices outside this framework of love for God end up becoming empty and often offensive religion. Even explaining the reasons behind rules is not enough — reasons can be debated, but a trusted relationship cannot. Reggie explains, “The most important way you fight for the heart is to build a relationship that is trustworthy” (p59).

(to be continued…)


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