One of the hardest things about this ministry is seeing all of the wasted potential in the church and in the lives of children and teens. God gives each of us potential to make an impact on the world by serving the church and others and sharing our faith. Yet much of it lies untapped for a variety of reasons. Most are living lives that are a mere shadow of what God had intended for them to be.
Those who reach the potential God gives them have some of the richest, fullest lives I have ever witnessed. They know their purpose. Their lives have meaning and their connection to God is strong. Their faith allows them to cope with the problems of living in a fallen world with grace.
So, what do you need to do to help your kids reach their godly potential? These tips should get you started.
- Share scriptures and Bible stories of potential and God’s plans. Cover your kids in scriptures like Ephesians 2:10, Proverbs 3:5-6 and more. Share stories of people like King David, who began life as a shepherd. The skills he developed in that lowly position though, helped prepare him for things God wanted him to do later in life. Talk about how God has things He wants your kids to do. Introduce the concepts of the gifts God has given them to serve Him and their need to develop them in order to be ready when God wants them to use those gifts.
- Cover your kids’ godly potential in prayer. They need to know you have been praying for them to reach their godly potential and find the things God wants them to do for Him. Encourage them to pray those same prayers for themselves. It’s easier to see what God wants when you are in constant prayer about it. Prayer keeps you and your kids aware of God-opportunities you may have otherwise ignored.
- Remember the plans for your kids are God’s – not yours. This is perhaps the biggest mistake many parents make. Their goals for their kids are what they want – not necessarily what God wants. The difference can be huge. Don’t push your own agenda on your kids as if it were from God. Let God lead them where He wants them to go.
- Encourage your kids to experiment with all sorts of hobbies, skills and educational fields of study. A huge part of reaching their godly potential is identifying the gifts God gave them. Often these gifts are found by trying out different things and finding out what “fits”.
- Help your kids find ways to develop their gifts. Even the most gifted individuals have to have some sort of training, practice or mentoring to fully develop their gifts. In fact, gifted people often don’t reach their full potential either, because their undeveloped talent is often more than the average person – leaving them feeling as if no work is needed on their part. If possible, also help them find godly mentors who will help them navigate serving God with their gifts.
- Allow your kids growth opportunities. I will admit, this throws most parents. Often the best growth opportunities may mean your child is far from home or in somewhat sketchy situations. Showing you trust God to lead your kids will help them trust God also. Honestly, if you are following where God is leading you, you may be with them or so busy on your own God adventures, you won’t worry quite as much.
- Encourage godly dreams. I have met many people actively serving God who had some hint of what would happen at young ages – often in their teens. I believe it is the Holy Spirit, but even if you aren’t sure where these dreams are from – God or your children – encourage them to start pursuing them. If they are from God, it will become obvious very quickly. If they aren’t, watch for lots of brick walls – often a sign God wants your child going in another direction. Never mock your child’s dreams. Mocking has ruined many parent-child relationships. Give wise counsel if needed, but never mock.
Helping your kids reach their godly potential will make your golden years particularly sweet. Bad things will still happen because we live in a fallen world, but you will have the joy of watching them follow God’s plans for their lives. It’s the best present you can give them and yourself!