5 Things to Help Lead Your Children with Love

Apr 25, 2016

(Cherie Duffey started KidSpring, our children's ministry here at NewSpring Church, from the very beginning. She's married to Shane <who wrote this and this recently>, is an incredible mom to four boys, and leads an entire team of writers, designers, project managers and creators that develop all of our children's curriculum for our campuses and for churches around the globe. Here's some awesome wisdom from her about leading and loving your children.)

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.

Being a spiritual leader at home is one of the most challenging leadership roles anyone will ever face. Whether we realize it or not, we are always leading our children somewhere. Every moment we spend with them is leading them closer to God or further away. Leading takes faith, courage and love, especially when it comes to leading at home.

In order to lead with love, there are a few things we need to consider:

1. We can’t lead our children to a place we’re not going!

The Bible reminds us that the commands of God must be evident in our own lives before we can expect our kids to live by them (Deuteronomy 6). It requires personal discipline to know God more and to apply His truths in the way we live. We have to stand firm in the faith.

2. We must be committed to changing and growing as our children change and grow!

Parenting is not easy! It is one of the primary ways God refines and shapes us. Being willing to learn and grow as we lead our children in different seasons is an important part of our success. While there will be times when we get things right, we must never be too proud to seek forgiveness when we’ve messed up. We’ve got to have the courage to change.

3. We should prioritize giving our children our time!

Leadership is influence, and children cannot be positively affected by someone they don’t like. Our role as parents is to get into our our kid’s world. Each one of our kids needs time with us: time to talk, play, listen and laugh with them! It’s not the quantity of time we spend with them but the quality that matters the most. Many things will fight for our time, so we must be strong in this conviction. We have to know and believe that time with our children is what they need more than they need a spotless house or parents who know what everybody is doing on social media.

4. We have to understand that disciplining our children is loving them!

Discipline is never fun, but it must be done in love and should always be aimed at training the heart.  What does heart training look like? It begins with understanding that the way we parent must reflect the way our Heavenly Father trains and disciplines us. Hebrews 12:6 says, "The Lord disciplines those he loves." Our love for our kids must be the single motivation we have to discipline and train their hearts. The purpose of discipline is not to correct behavior but to expose the attitudes in the heart that are not pleasing to God.

5. Always lead with the end in mind!

It’s hard to think about a two year old as a 22 year old, but in essence, we have to remember we are not raising kids but rather adults. We need to make decisions today based on what we want our children to become tomorrow. If we want our children to know God’s unconditional love, we have to demonstrate it. If we want our kids to desire to be around us when they’re adults, we need to value the relationship we are forming with them now.

Leading with love is possible when our love for our children is linked to God’s love for us. He provides the example and the strength we need to raise kids who will effectively impact the world because they have never known a day when they weren’t loved!

(If you've enjoyed reading this post, I hope you'll love my new leadership book The Most Excellent Way to Lead where I talk a lot more about leadership by love and how we can apply it to every area of our lives. You can visit mostexcellentwaytolead.com to find a store near you and get your copy today!)