The Two Biggest Spiritual Influences for a Child

spiritual influence

Children are heavily influenced as they grow up. Who influences them the most? The two biggest factors for spiritual influence for a child are the family and friends.

The first person(s) is FAMILY.

No one has more influence in a child’s life than his or her parents.

In a day when church is optional and when many parents assume the church will be the biggest spiritual influence in their child’s life, we must help parents see God has called them to be the primary spiritual influence in their child’s life.

This means if you want to influence children, then you must influence their parents.  This happens by being focused on parents.

Let’s think about this together.  If parents are one of the biggest influences, why would we not put at least 50% of our efforts into influencing and equipping parents.

Let me encourage you to take a close look at this.  In a typical week, how much of your effort and focus is zoomed in on parents?   It would be very helpful for you to see what percentage of your time is spent influencing parents.  Track it for a month or so and see what your results are.

95% kids vs. 5% parents effort?

75% kids vs. 25% parents efforts?

65% kids vs. 35% parents efforts?

50% kids vs. 50% parents efforts?

We always talk about how some parents drop off their kids for us to do their job spiritually.  But perhaps we are doing the same thing?  We are “dropping off” parents at the adult ministry and asking them to train parents to lead their children spiritually.

As children’s ministry leaders, we must step up and take the initiative in helping parents be the primary spiritual influence in their child’s life.

What if you sat down with the adult ministry and asked to partner with them to influence parents?  What if you worked together to host parenting classes?  What if you partnered with adult ministry to offer financing and budgeting classes for parents?  What if you partnered with the women’s ministry to host a mother and child event?  What if you partnered with the men’s ministry to have a father/child camping trip?

What if you took the initiative and began hosting Milestone events for parents and their children?

How about having classes attached to the big spiritual moments in families’ lives?

Some examples are…

Parent & Child Dedication

Bible Presentation

Faith commitment to follow Jesus

Baptism

Transition into middle school world

You can get great teaching content for parents and their children for the milestone events at this link.

The other big influence in a child’s life is FRIENDS.  Especially close friends.  Friends are a powerful factor when it comes to making decisions.  Decisions that may be right or wrong.  Most kids who get into trouble are influenced to do so by their friends.

Show me your child’s friends and I can tell you what kind of person your child is.

Throughout Proverbs we see admonitions to have good friends.  Proverbs 13:20 says this.

‘Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”

Friends will use peer pressure to influence other children.   
This means we must encourage parents to know who their children are friends with.  Who their child spends time with.  Who their child is close to.  

As parents, we have the responsibility to help our children choose good friends.  That one choice can make or break which direction they go in life and how their relationship with Jesus is.  

So there you have it.  The 2 biggest spiritual influences in a kid’s life.  

Takeaways:

We must influence parents so they in turn will influence their children.

We must stop thinking that it’s adult ministry’s job to equip and empower parents.  We must enter a partnership with adult ministry and lock arms to influence parents. 

What percentage of your time each week is used to directly influence parents?  How can you improve in this area?

We must have key milestone events in place that impact parents. 

We must help parents understand the importance of knowing and guiding who their child is close friends with.

The two biggest influences – FAMILY & FRIENDS.  The two crucial factors that influence which path a child takes in life. 

This article about spiritual influence for kids originally appeared here.

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Dale Hudson
Dale Hudson has been serving in children's ministry for over 30 years. He is an author, speaker and ministry leader.  He is the founder and director of Building Children's Ministry. BCM helps churches build strong leaders, teams and children's ministries.  (www.buildingchildrensministry.com)