The Responsibility of Parenting


During yesterday’s sermon (11/12/17), I taught out of John 19 on the crucifixion of Jesus. During Jesus’ interaction with Pilate, Jesus informed him that the only reason he was in a place of authority was because God had given him that authority. However, Pilate was still responsible for the authority that God had given him. Translation for today: God gives us our authority, but we still have a responsibility in how we use that authority as leaders, business owners, managers, and as parents. This blog will focus specifically on the authority we’re given as parents.

The primary responsibility of a parent is to teach their children to love the Lord their God with all the heart, and with all their soul and with all their might (Deut. 6:4). In fact, the bible is very clear that parents should be very diligent in teaching their kids this truth (Deut. 6:7). The word used for “diligent” in this text literally means to, “teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions.1” This command of parents is not wishful thinking by God, but an earnest desire for parents to carry out. How can a parent accomplish this in a world where most parents are not Christians, let alone care about teaching their kids to love God?

Here are a few suggestions for parents on this journey to raise children who Love God with all their heart, soul, and might.


    Kids are very perceptive of what is important to their parents. If Jesus is important to you, then show them with your actions. Have a daily bible study where the kids can see you. Pray over your family every night, and have a family bible study together before the kids go to bed. Also, show your kids that church is a priority by being there consistently. Yes, there may be days when you don’t feel like reading God’s word, or praying, or even going to church, but it is especially during those times that you must remain diligent. Your kids are watching.


    It is of utmost importance that parents understand what the gospel is and how it impacts everyday lives, so that a biblical way of thinking will shape your parenting. The more that parents understand the gospel, the more easily they can point their kids to their need of the gospel. The depth in which you can talk to your kids will vary based on how old they are, but that should not deter parents from pointing their kids to the gospel. For example, if your kids have trouble sharing, talk to them about sin and selfishness. Share with them how Jesus came to forgive sin and to make us selfless.


    Serving together is a great way to show your kids the importance of God. It also is a great way to mimic the life of Jesus as he came to serve and not to be served (Mark 10:45). This could be done at church, in the community, or even in your neighborhood. Make sure that you lead out in serving with a cheerful heart and not reluctantly. Your kids will pick up on the attitude that is being conveyed and will mirror the same attitude.


    Lastly, build in accountability in your life as a parent. Parenting is extremely hard, and no one is perfect. This is why accountability is so important. Accountability will help push us along when we don’t feel like being consistent, or intentional in sharing the gospel, or even serving together.

Give another person permission to ask you hard questions that will keep you on track in raising children who will grow to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and might.

God has given us an incredible responsibility of authority in our families. We must remain diligent in teaching our kids to love God. This will happen only if we constantly display for our kids the importance of Christ in our daily lives. I pray that you found this blog helpful as we all seek to continue to raise children who will learn to love God with all their heart, soul, and might.

Pastor Joey 

Teaching Prayer with Your Kids


Prayer.  One of the most important things we can and should do for each other.  So, how can we make it more important at home and to our kids.  I know how stressful it can be to teach prayer to kids.  If you are new to applying biblical practices at home or have young children, here are some helpful tips to help you get started.    

First, start with yourself.  Get your heart and mind on the right page.  As you know, teaching kids about anything can be challenging, so pray for your patience and consistency.  Pray for your kids, family members, friends and others in front of them. Watching you do this sets the example of “oh this is important,” but it also helps them create a structure for their own prayers.  

Many times, kids don’t enjoy prayer time because they don’t know what to do or are worried about being embarrassed.  Kids want to please their parents and others they look up to, so many times they won’t say anything or say, “I don’t know” as a way not to say the wrong thing.   

I have been reading about prayer and tips from others who have been teaching prayer at home and there are two simple ways that stood out to me: prayer of thanksgiving and prayer for others.  The key is to stay simple and remain on their level. Yes, one day your kids should learn prayer in repentance and humility to God, but those come with a heart check and many young kids aren’t there yet.  With that being said, be ready and have a listening heart for when that time comes.   

In the spirit of staying simple I will give you examples 

1. Prayer of Thanksgiving.  

First, explain what is a prayer of Thanksgiving.  Example: A prayer of Thanksgiving is one in which you pray to God thanking him for the things he blessed us with today.  Like a trip to the zoo, sister getting better, or Grandma getting to come visit.  These are simple examples that will help them understand.  

Ask them to say a prayer of Thanksgiving for today.  To help them out say one first, be an example in thanking God!   

2. Praying for others.  

Many times, when I ask for prayer request from kids I will either get Crickets… or some of the craziest answers. Make a list of people.   You can write it on paper and place it somewhere where it is easily seen and found or you could write it on note cards and put them on a key ring. Make a list on your phone so that wherever you are, you got this!  The list will be helpful because it won’t be like pulling teeth to get them to say someone to pray for, but also, they won’t be just praying for the ones on the top of the list, like grandma and brother, all the time. Not that it is bad, but it is important to teach them to pray for all God’s people, even the ones they hardly know or don’t know.   

Sit down with your kiddo and write a list.  Don’t write it for them, have them help.  Ask questions like, “do you think Sally needs prayer, she has been sick lately?”  This helps them know why they are praying for someone and it is a reminder that everyone needs prayer not just the people they see every day.  

Now that you have your list let’s talk about taking action!  

With young kids, it is extremely helpful to use what I like to call brain triggering motions.  The article I got these tips from was by Jessica Smartt.  She said she would point to the sky, point to her mouth, and point to her heart.   When you use motions, make sure it is going to be one you do automatically.  If you don’t, it may be more confusing than helpful.  Use your motions as hints to help them with what to say next.   

Once your kiddos choose who to pray for, start with “Dear God, God, or Hello God” or however you normally start.  

1. (point to the sky) Pray that God would be with them and helping them.  

2. (point to your mouth) pray they have the things they need, example food or medicine.  

3. (point to your heart) Pray that they would know God and be in their hearts.  

When teaching # 3 it is important to take time and share the gospel. Do it often!  

Remember staying simple and consistent is key!  Do these often at a scheduled time! Make sure they know they can talk to God all the time!      

Lastly, Praise your child! It’s totally awesome when they talk to God, so let them know it! One day it will be totally awesome when they are doing it on their own confidently!     


Shayla McDonnel
SL Kids Director

2017 Giving Challenge

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Starting this Sunday, September 10th, thru the end of November, I am challenging every person in the South Lakes Family to support the church in giving consistently out of the abundance of your heart.  In the Old Testament, God established the tithe (10%) as the giving standard for the Jewish people.  However, in the New Testament the giving principle has been flipped upside down.  Giving is no longer based on a set standard, but on the heart attitude of the giver (Acts 2:45; Matthew 26:7; Luke 21:4; II Corinthians 8:3-4).

As your pastor, it is my responsibility to lead the church to grow in full maturity (Ephesians 4:11,12), and I must confess that I have failed to challenge us as a church to support the church that Christ has called us to.  Please consider doing two things during the next 3 months:

1.     Consistently give.  Whether it is online, in the offering plate, or through texting, commit to consistently support South Lakes.

2.     Prayerfully talk about the amount that you give to support the church.  If you give $20/week, would you consider increasing it to $40?  If you give 4% of your monthly income, would you consider increasing it to 6%?  Is the Lord calling you to take a step of faith in giving?

My prayer during this three month period is that South Lakes would become self-sufficient and that God would build into your lives the discipline of giving.  It is an honor to be called your pastor, and I look forward to see what God is going to do in all of our lives during this challenge.

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