Summer is an important time of the year, and I'm not just saying that because it's my favorite season. Rather, summer is a memorable and important time in a teenager’s life.
Some of my best high school memories include all the young girls fighting over me when I would go to the beach and show off my athletic torso. Back then I “spiked” my hair (yes, I had hair back then) and it made the ladies go wild.
Okay, so those memories might be a figment of my imagination, but without a doubt, some of the best spiritual markers in my life had to do with the things God was doing in my heart during the summer. Whether it was camps such as SummerSalt or mission trips like World Changers, God always seemed to be up to something.
This summer can be a memorable time in the life of your child too, but what if the memory your child takes from this summer is not of a girl or boy they meet or a movie they see, but instead it's a picture of their parents demonstrating the value of an ongoing relationship with Christ?
Here are a few new things you can do to invest in your child spiritually this summer:
Intercede for your son or daughter by praying for their salvation or next step in their faith journey. You might already do this privately, but how often do your children hear you praying for them out loud? Maybe your son or daughter is a Christ follower, so your prayer should be for baptism or the next step to challenge them in their walk with Christ such as an overseas missions trip.
Invest in your son or daughter by getting them a study Bible. Yes, your children probably have a Bible on their phone, but a good study Bible is a great tool to help your child read God’s word more effectively. Study Bibles have tools such as verse-by-verse commentary to help teach context and definitions of unfamiliar words. Many Study Bibles also contain articles and help answer questions that many teenagers struggle with. Study Bibles such as The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and the ESV Student Study Bible are excellent choices for you to consider. If you ever would like to look at some examples, stop by my office.
Protect your son or daughter by getting an online filter for your home and the electronic devices your teen uses. If you have an unfiltered Wi-Fi connection, then you need to accept the fact that your teenager could be regularly viewing and may be addicted to inappropriate content. I cannot tell you how often I am having conversations with teenagers that are struggling with this issue, but are too embarrassed to talk to their parents about it. Software from x3watch.com and covenanteyes.com can provide software to help you protect your child from content that could damage them and their future relationships.
Teach your son or daughter the importance of a missional lifestyle. John Stott, who wrote the classic The Cross of Christ, famously said, “We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God.” How great can our God really be if we don’t even demonstrate His love for the entire world before our families? One great way you might be able to start doing this is by having a missions jar on your kitchen table. When you meet every night for dinner, everyone dumps their loose change into it knowing that when the next missions opportunity comes up, that money will be used to go towards that goal. You can also sponsor a Compassion International child.
God is going to do something new and fresh in the life of your child this summer. What new thing is God going to do in your life as you lead and serve your family? Begin asking Him now to do something that only He can get credit for and share with our staff how you sense God speaking to you! We want to hear all about it!
The preceding article was originally published in Volume 40, Issue 4 of our monthly newsletter, The Trumpet.