Parenting Teenagers to Passionately Love God

How can parents disciple their teenagers to passionately love Jesus and live His mission?

The following are core principles (not “how to” gimmicks) for discipling our teenagers to passionately love Jesus and stand apart from the world by living His mission:

1. Possess the passion for Jesus that you desire your teenager to possess. Discipling our children must flow from who we are. We cannot pass on to our children what we do not possess. Our children will mirror us – our attitudes, actions, words, and spiritual welbeing. The apple never falls far from the tree. When our relationship with Jesus is nominal, our children’s relationship with Jesus tends to be nominal. When our relationship with Jesus is exciting, vibrant, and new, our children’s relationship with Jesus is likely to be the same. We set the spiritual tone of our children’s lives. Our relationship with God must be, what we want our children to become.

2. Share with your teenager what God is teaching you. Our children need to hear how God is actively working in our lives and changing us to be more like Him. This awakens our children’s spirit to the workings of God in their own lives. If we have nothing to share with our teenagers, then we are not “dwelling with God” and spiritual transformation will usually fail to occur in our children. Our teenagers need to see and hear how God is working to shape us more into His image. Impart to your children what God has imparted to you.

3. Pray with and over your teenager regularly. This means praying out loud and more than at dinner time or when they go to bed. When your teenager is struggling through relational drama, emotional pain, temptation, physical issues, etc., pray with them, at the moment, they share their life with you. When you pray, pray passionately, with the authority and power that has been given you through Jesus’ life and resurrection. Your example will teach your teenager to access the authority and power of God through prayer.

4. Ask spiritual questions regularly. Be slow to give answers; be quick to ask questions. Your questions have the power to launch spiritual conversations that form a strong spiritual foundation for the remainder of their lives. Questions will help your teenager wrestle with the truth of God and open opportunities for God to speak His truth into their lives as they formulate their belief system. Spiritual questions reinforce the fact that our relating with God and relating with others about God matters. Ask spiritual question and talk about God regularly.

5. Continue disciplining your teenager. God disciplines those He loves. I hope He is disciplining you. Disciplining our teenagers reveals love and directs them to the heart of God. Though your teenager will never tell you this, he or she longs for parameters that help to define God’s boundaries for their life. Discipline enforces those parameters and imparts spiritual sensitivity to the holiness of God. Continue to discipline your teenager with the same love that God disciplines you.

6. Set an example of Christ-likeness. Set an example in your attitude, conversations, and actions of what it means to passionately love Jesus and live His mission. Be with Jesus daily. Be filled with the presence and joy of God. Be incarnational. Mimic Jesus’ life, love, and authority. Talk about Jesus at church, in the market place, in your neighborhood, and in your home. Invite Jesus to be part of all you do. Live Jesus’ mission – make disciples, who make disciples.

7. What principle is missing? Comment below what principles you have discovered in parenting that are helping your teenager grow in Christ-likeness. We need to hear what you have to offer.

When we embrace these and other principles, in partnership with the grace and power of God, our teenagers will more likely be transformed into men and women who passionately love God and live the mission of Jesus.

To read more on the role of parents in the spiritual formation of teenagers click here.

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9 Responses

  1. Ron,
    Great info-thanks for the follow up!

  2. With all the pressures a teenager has to deal with in their world today, it is such a blessing to them and their parents to have committed leaders at Calvary Church to help shape and grow their Faith and walk with the Lord.It grows my Faith as well!
    God Bless

  3. Ron,
    These are great! I would add: Share your failures. Share how God has restored you and what He has taught you through areas in which you struggle. Also, teach your child how to confess their sins. Tell them how you do. One more thing: Affirm them in their giftedness regularly. Tell them verbally how you see God using them.

    Thanks for your desire to see our students love God and know how much He loves them!

  4. Ron,
    Thank you to you, and the entire staff of volunteers who are sacrificing so much to be with our teens this week at Harvey Cedars. Thank you to all the individuals who provide technical assistance to enable us, as parents, to hear the messages from Harvey Cedars. It is a blessing to be able to share this experience wiht our son by hearing the messages, and reading the postings on parenting our teens to Love God. You are all in our prayers this week. Thank you.
    Nancy Bayley

  5. Sharon,

    Great insight! Our teenagers do need to learn from our failures. Shared failures, restoration, and learnings’ empower our children to make great decisions. Authenticity takes humility, but it goes a long way to shape our children’s lives.

    I really like your thought on confession (I would call it repentance). I plan to write a blog on this in the very near future. Of course, to teach repentance, we must practice repentance. But do we? Really.

    Today in one of the morning workshops, the speakers talked about students using their gifts. As he was speaking, I realized that many students don’t know what their gifts are. Why? Because they are not validated by loving adults. To disciple our children we must constantly validate who they are.

    Thank you for your additional insight.

  6. Nancy,

    TU for your encouragement. I will pass your comment on to our volunteers this afternoon.

  7. Ron and Staff,
    Wow! Love those movies and all the info. about the week. I know our kids will come back changed as God moves in their lives. It’s great to have so many other people “loving on” our students! Thanks!

  8. […] Radiate Radiate « HC – Jr High – Friday – Share the Secret HC – Jr High – Saturday – Live it August 4th, 2007 Harvey Cedars summer camp is over. God’s work is not! It continues at home. Parents, we are passing the primary role of discipleship back to you. Continue to inspire the work God that began this week. For ideas on how to “disciple your teenager to passionately love God” as they return home click here. […]

  9. Let your teenagers know you believe in them and in their success (as Christians, as your child and a member of your family, as a member of society).

    This is kind of an offshoot of the “Put Me Back On” message you gave at New Life Haymarket. (See? I *told* you that message had an impact on me and my family!)

    My 13-y.o. daughter and I were discussing your message and the message of that ring – how the spouse must not have believed in or trusted her mate if she felt like the most important message she could put in his ring was “Put Me Back On”. My daughter pointed out that if the wife wanted her husband to succeed, she should have put the message “I trust you” or “I believe in you” in his ring. Because if someone believes in you, she says, you start to believe in yourself, and if someone trusts you then you do not want to lose that trust. Her final take on the “Put Me Back On” ring was that she felt sorry for the wearer of the ring.

    Too often we/society send a barrage of self-defeating messages to our kids (“you’ll never learn!” “You’re a geek/nerd/loser”, “Why can’t you be like your sister/brother”, etc.) My daughter’ s point was that when you hear negativity all the time, the easiest thing is to sink down to that level and stay there. To not try. To not care about yourself. To not care about anyone.

    My daughter is learning that God only wants the best for her and from her. She says that God’s trust and faith in her – in giving her the gift of his son , in sharing his Word, and in loving her despite her flaws and mistakes – makes her want to continue to learn and be a better Christian and a better person. She is amazed as she reads her Bible how it seems to speak right to her! 🙂

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