Jun 17, 2020 | Podcast, The Living Room

036: Raising Kids Who Love Jesus (& the Church!) with John Michael & Jessica


“Parenting may be one of the hardest jobs, but it is so rewarding!”

I’ve been looking forward to this discussion with with my adult kids, John Michael Weaver and Jessica Downs – but to be honest, I’ve been nervous! After all, I told them I wanted them to be honest about their upbringing as PKs (pastor’s kids)…who knows what they might say?

It ended up being a precious conversation as we talked openly about what they found difficult in their growing up years as well as the things that worked. John and I definitely didn’t do it perfect, but John Michael and Jessica identify some key things that helped them come to love Jesus – as well as His Church. Including the massive impact of a godly father who was the same in the pulpit as he was in our home.   

Perhaps you raised your kids just like we did, but they’ve chosen not to follow the Lord. Perhaps you didn’t have an idyllic childhood or a father (or church) who consistently showed you the love of Jesus. I want to invite you to bring your pain to the Lord this Father’s Day and allow Him to heal your heart.

Though we can’t go back and change history, God wants to write a new story in our hearts. In our families. In our churches. And even in our world!

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We’ll be discussing…

Embrace Family Boundaries (Heart over Rules) 

  • Teach your kids how to recognize God’s conviction and to live counter-culturally
  • Establish boundaries and who you want to be as a family
  • Resist putting pressure on your kids to be perfect
  • “Jesus is more concerned about how we treat the people He created and died for then our personal righteousness” ~John Michael (ref. our righteous acts are like filthy rags Isaiah 64:6)
  • Try to help them understand the importance of their hearts versus legalistically following rules
  • Distinguish between doctrine and personal convictions
  • Trust the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your children into their own personal convictions
  • Remember, “God gave you your children…not to rule but to guide” – Julie Olson Lindemuth

Cultivate an Atmosphere to Personally Encounter Jesus 

  • Demonstrate a love for the Church, God’s people and His mission
  • Reinforce that your children have a unique, God-given purpose and calling
  • Help them engage in the life of the church and find their place to serve and grow
  • Make Jesus a part of everything (i.e. school, work, discipline, sports)
  • Be the same person at church, at home and everywhere else
  • Be humble and honest about your own shortcomings and quick to ask for forgiveness
  • Invest in as many opportunities as possible so kids can personally encounter Jesus  (church camps, conventions, etc…)
  • Be available to them in the good and bad, exciting and mundane, ups and downs of life
  • Love your spouse well in front of your kids

Create a Church Environment that Kids Enjoy

  • Become an active part in a church that values kids and youth
  • Allow church leaders, teachers and Christian adults to connect with your kids and speak into their lives
  • Surround them with friends and families who are like-minded
  • Give children & youth opportunities to memorize God’s Word and instill His truth into their hearts
  • Encourage mentorship and create moments where other godly people can affirm your kids – Bar/Bat Barack
  • Don’t underestimate your role in the lives of other children and teens in your church
  • Talk positively about the church to your kids

Even if you weren’t raised in a healthy Christian home, it’s not too late to create your own with the Holy Spirit’s help.

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it. ~Proverbs 22:6

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ~2 Corinthians 12:9

6 Tips for Raising Kids Who Love Jesus (& the Church!)

Additional Resources

Parenting Episode – 033: Mama Bear Apologetics with Hillary Morgan Ferrer | The Living Room

Marriage Episode – 030: Embracing Our Differences in Marriage with John Weaver


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I’d love to hear from you… What advice would you add to this list for helping kids follow Jesus? 

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