ZonesLeadership › Are Parents Really the Primary Spiritual Leader of Their Kids?

Are Parents Really the Primary Spiritual Leader of Their Kids?

Membership Level Guest

Author/Source: Mark Harper

Topic: Leadership, Evangelism, Spiritual Leadership

Are you relying on the parents to be their kids' primary spiritual leaders? Read why this may not be what Christ intended. 


There is a big emphasis in churches today on family ministry.

In the context of family ministry we hear a lot of talk about parents being the primary spiritual leaders of their kids.

Many churches take this concept so far that they will not pray with kids to receive Christ, as they say this is the parent’s responsibility.

While it can be a special moment for a Mom or Dad to lead their child to Christ, I don’t think the Lord really cares who leads the child to Christ. He simply says, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

While I agree that the church and the home make a powerful team, I’d like to give some push back on the idea that the parents are the primary spiritual leaders of their children.

Here are 4 reasons I disagree with this statement.

  • Not all families are the same. Families come in many different shapes and sizes. We have single parent homes, two parent homes, kids that live with their grandparents and foster homes, so to make a universal statement like this is not accurate.
  • Many times a child’s faith will surpass their parent’s faith. Kids are created with a nature to believe. Jesus said it like this. “Anyone who does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will not enter in.” Jesus is honoring the faith of kids. He is saying to the disciples that, “It’s not that the kids need to grow up and become like you, but you need to grow down and become like them.”

I did not grow up in a Christian home. I came to Christ at 17 years of age because my Dad came to Christ, but in a few short months my commitment to the Lord and my spiritual growth exceeded my Dad’s spiritual growth. I am grateful for my youth pastor and other pastors in the church that could take me past the point where my Dad was at.

  • Part of the mission of Christ is to be a father to the fatherless. There are lots of names for God, but the name He likes best is Father. The reason I believe this is because that is what Jesus called the creator of the universe. I believe there is a special place in the heart of God for kids that come from what we would call dysfunctional homes.

There are 25 million kids in America growing up in homes without a Dad. This is one of the primary calls of a Kid’s Pastor – to be a conduit of the Father’s love to a fatherless generation.

My point is this: if we put most of our resources and time toward ministering to kids through their parents we will miss the fatherless generation.

  • Every child needs a pastor and a parent. When the church and the home work together, it increases our effectiveness, but we are called to do different things.

As a parent, I am thankful for the pastors in my kids lives that helped them along the way. I found out the hard way that I couldn’t be both pastor and parent for my kids. I needed someone to see things in my kids that I couldn’t see.

On the other hand, as a pastor I can see gifts in other people’s kids that they didn’t see.

A good example of this is David.

God spoke to Samuel to go to the house of Jesse and anoint one of his sons to be the next King of Israel. Jesse has seven of his sons to pass by Samuel and the Lord rejected all of them.

Samuel looks at Jesse and says, “Do you have any more sons?”

“There is still the youngest, but he is watching the sheep.”

We all know the rest of the story. Jesse sent for David, his youngest son, and Samuel anointed him to be King of Israel.

Here is my point: Samuel saw something in David that his Dad didn’t see.

This is still true today. Sometimes the people that are closest to us don’t see the gifts that are in us. That is when we need the Samuel's to step up and say, “I see a future King.”

  • Are there young David’s in your class?
  • Are there gifts in the kids in your class that their parents haven’t seen yet?

When God looks at an 8 year old, He doesn’t see an eight your old. He sees their whole life in a split second.

Should we empower parents to minister to their kids?

Absolutely, but part of your job is to look for the David’s in your class.

You will see gifts in kids that their parents may not see.

Do not back away from it.

It’s part of your call. 

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