One of the most common responses I hear from church leaders when I share with them the biblical vision of parents as the primary spiritual trainers of their children is this, “Rob, I understand the principle here but most of the parents in our church are not spiritually mature enough to disciple their kids, so how does it make any sense for them to try and do it?”
I may be off base on this, but I think this is the only area of the Christian life where pastors tell people in the church that they can’t do something which God commands. Let’s say we have a brand new believer. Do we encourage that “baby Christian” to wait to start tithing until they are more spiritually mature? Do we encourage that “baby Christian” to wait to start singing in church until they feel more comfortable? No! We invite them to rest in the grace and power of God and follow Him fully right now!
God commands parents to disciple their children. Is there anything in His Word which says that parents need to reach a requisite level of holiness before they can obey? I completely agree that parents cannot lead a child in a direction they are not going themselves. But if we have men and women who have been in our church for five or ten years, and they are not sufficiently discipled to shepherd their children at home, that is a church crisis of epic proportions!
Another key response to this question is that family worship is not just for the children. Family worship is not a Bible class being led by the parent. Because this is our mentality we think, “This parent can’t teach the Bible. Family worship is Bible class at home. This parent can’t lead family worship.” All that is required is a parent who wants to love and obey, and wants his or her children to love and obey Him too. Parents like this, with all their problems and immaturities, pray alongside their children. They read the Bible to their children with a humble, believing, and obedient spirit. They confess their sins to their children and listen as their children confess their sins in return.
If a man is an immature Christian, God will use family worship as a powerful discipleship tool in his life. He will be reading the Word to the family. He will be asked questions for which he must go out and seek answers. The living Word of God will change him from the inside out.
Here is the bottom line. God never calls us to do something and then abandons us when we seek to be obedient. God has called all parents in the local church to be the primary spiritual trainers for their children in the home. All God is looking for is our obedience. The Holy Spirit then brings spiritual transformation, not only for the child, but for the parent as well.