PACESETTING

Spiritually, you only have to be one step ahead to lead your son.

As grace and gospel truth invades our hearts, we are compelled to live humbled and transformed lives. In chapter 7 and verse 10 of Ezra we are told that Ezra prepared his heart to seek God’s truth, then he obeyed it, and then he taught it to others. This is our job as a father; to be seeking God consistently, submitting to His authority, and then teaching our family to do the same.  This is pacesetting.

What and When do I teach them?

Order

As a general rule for age appropriate engagement.  Between the ages of 0-7, meet their basic needs with love and tenderness, and teach them the importance of first time obedience.  Have hundreds of conversations about God in concrete ways, unless their questions take you into more abstract concepts.  Between the ages of 8-12, focus on training them in the disciplines of following God, namely through reading, praying, memorizing, meditating and applying God’s word.  Help them understand a Christian worldview in contrast to a secular one.  Between the ages of 13-18, allow them to take responsibility for all they have learned thus far even if that means occasional non-catastrophic failure.  Instead of telling them what or what not to do, start engaging in non-judgmental conversations and encourage them to utilize what they already know from previous training, how to navigate their world and make decisions based on a Christian worldview.

Many fathers get this backward.  Instead of being a father, they are their son’s friend and neglect the obedience issue.  By the time they figure out their error, they are often trying to play catch up, and ultimately force feed training principles at an age they should be having meaningful conversations about the complexities of life.

Model the Disciplines

There is no substitute for a father who is a man after God’s own heart, and who lives it out daily in his household. Reading the word consistently, sharing what the Lord has shown him to his family, adoring, confessing, thanking and imploring God through prayer, hiding His word in his heart, and doing what God has commanded, brings the Truth to life for himself and his family.  For some basic starting points on reading the word, praying and memorizing scripture, scroll down (Read It, Pray It, Hide It)

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Teach a Christian Worldview

Most kids have their worldview in place by the time they are 13 years old.  This doesn’t mean their worldview will be based on Christian principles.  For this reason, as early as possible, help them understand things pertaining to”

Who is God – Who I am and why am I here – Who is my neighbor – How can I take action

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Lead with Grace

Fathers are older and more experienced versions of their sons, but no less prone to temptation and sin.  It is important to show your son his heart, to affirm the universal need for God’s abounding grace, and to work alongside him on rescue journey for his soul and a path of discovery of the joy of putting God first for a lifetime.

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Keep Conversation Going

A boy eventually shifts away from “taking your word for it” to trying to figure life out on his own (typically around 12-13 years old). This is an exciting change that often brings with it considerable awkwardness, both between what the boy is experiencing internally and externally and how the father is forced to engage with his son in a different way.  In this time of a boy’s life, “telling” is less tolerated, and instead discussing life and walking alongside, even when the boy makes mistakes, allows him to take an active role in piecing together life and making more independent decisions. Walk with your son through the big questions.  Lead him in a positive direction, and keep conversations going by remaining candid and suspending judgment.  Set your son up to take on the responsibility of thinking and making decisions independently by consistently modeling your walk with God, teaching him a Christian worldview, and leading him with grace.

 

For more information about key questions to discuss with your son,

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READ IT, PRAY IT, HIDE IT

Age Based Resources

Every man needs a direction with his family.  Family ID is focused on helping a family identify and live out their core values. If you feel like your family is existing, but not going somewhere purposefully, check out this amazing ministry by Greg Gunn.

There are many man out there who grew up with an absent father, or an imcomplete understanding of manhood.  Noblemen Ministries run by Bryce Bouchard provides and avenue for remedying this void, and giving a man a foundation for leading his family.

True North Ministries exists to provide extended opportunities for godly community between men who are seeking God.  They also offer basecamp events aimed at providing men the opportunity to grow as men after God’s own heart. 

The Navigator ministry is an international organization that understands the worth of training a person to become independent in the basics of the Christian faith (reading, praying, studying, memorizing, meditating, applying the word).  They train people to be followers, and to lead others to be followers as well, utilizing simple pass-on-able tools. 

Maybe you realize there are conversations you are not prepared to have with your child; not a problem!  Axis exists to help you become well equipped to have meaningful, God centered discussions with your teen.  Many of the materials can be tailored to a younger child as well.

Kanakuk, with almost 100 years of summer camp, provides the perfect opportunity for your son to enjoy sports and the outdoors, while receiving encouragement and spiritual mentoring from pacesetting college students and leadership.

The Bible Project brings the Bible to life through stunning visual representations of Old and New Testament book overviews, word studies, and “how to” tutorials.  This is a great way to educate yourself and get your son interested in knowing more about God and His plan for the world.

Books All Fathers Should Read

Worldview Training

  • God is truth and He reveals His truth to people

  • He is the one true and almighty God; He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

  • He created everything

  • We are God’s children and are made to love and to praise Him

  • God meets all of our needs

  • Sin separates us from God

  • Jesus is the only way to God

 

  • God made me in His image and crowned me with glory

  • He has given me special gifts and a unique purpose in life

  • I can creatively express God’s love

  • I am meant to think about beautiful and praiseworthy things, especially God and His Word

  • I must make decisions based on God’s truth

  • I can always know the wise thing to do

  • I must cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in my life

  • I am a beloved child of God whose true identity is found in Christ.

 

  • God created me to be a blessing to the world

  • God chooses to work through me

  • I can make a difference at home, in my community, and at church

  • The church is God’s family

  • The church is one body with many gifts and I am an important member of Jesus’ body.

 

  • God owns all things because He created and sustains all things

  • He has entrusted me with certain gifts and wants me to use these gifts for His glory

  • I honor God by using my money and possessions wisely

  • I glorify Him by investing my time and talents wisely

  • My body is not my own but has been bought at a price

  • God expects me to care for His creation

  • God will reward me for my faithfulness.

The above points have been adapted from the “What We Believe” series by John Hay and David Webb which you can find at APOLOGIA.