Parents and ministry leaders, here is something to ponder:
Passing on the [Christian] faith has been compared to handing off a baton in a relay race. And there are many things to commend that analogy to us. There is a real gospel—the baton—to pass on. It must be passed on individually. The one with the baton has to hold it out, and the one receiving the baton has to reach back for it and close his hand around it. There is a time to pass on the baton, the exchange zone, which does not last forever. All of these are excellent pictures to help us think through this subject.
There is a problem with this illustration, however. We are not handing off the baton at a friendly track meet—rather this exchange takes place on a battlefield! We are attempting to pass on this baton of the gospel while we and our children are being shot at! And what about those observing in the stands? A few are cheering us on, but many in the stands—the world—are laughing at our child’s attempt to run the race.
(Chap Bettis, “The Disciple-Making Parent—A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Jesus Christ copyright©2016, page 8)
Rather than be discouraged by this, we as parents and ministry leaders should use this as motivation to prepare our children and students to face the challenge. We must arm them with God’s Truth and point them to complete dependence on His sovereign grace. Furthermore, we should provide them with a distinctive, unwavering biblical worldview by teaching them…
- that the Bible is absolute Truth and is totally reliable and sufficient.
- a deep and robust understanding of God’s nature and character.
- that biblical truth is relevant to everything in life.
- to evaluate all things through the truth of Scripture: biblical discernment.
- the enlightening and transforming truth of the Gospel.
- that a biblical worldview is meant to point them to true, lasting joy.
- to boldly proclaim God’s truth in a spirit of humility.
- to expect opposition and to be prepared to stand firm.
On this last point, it’s important that we do the following to encourage them and “cheer them on.”
- Point out evidence of God’s grace in their lives. Use it to encourage them.
- Remind them of Jesus and others who have experienced ridicule and have been hated by the world.
- Pray with and for them on a regular basis.
- Find your children and teens some older, mature Christians to be mentors.
- Keep them in the Word and look for devotionals and other resources that will serve to increase their confidence in God.
- Instruct them in Christian apologetics, providing a vigorous defense of the faith—reasons and arguments for why we believe what we believe.