10 Suggestions for Raising Godly Children

Family Pic 2010

Most of the believers I know have a strong desire to raise their children to be godly; to be passionate followers of Christ.

Years ago, before I even had children, God laid on my heart to develop a plan for my fathering. Though at the time I didn’t put this on paper, over the years I have begun to write it down in an effort to encourage other parents to have a plan for their parenting in the area of spiritual development.

That plan was covered in previous posts — this is an expansion of that — but in addition to having a plan, we thought through as a couple actions which could help attain our plan for parenting.

You can have the best plan in the world but with no steps to implement them they will just be pretty words on paper. That’s true in every area of our life, including parenting.

One of the things we wanted to see was our children following after Christ. We wanted to instill godly principles in their life. These are some specific suggestions we thought through for the spiritual development part of our plan. You can use a similar approach but alter them  to fit your own plan, life situations, and the individualities of your children. This is what we did. And, by God’s grace — and so far — with two adult children who love and serve Jesus — it is working.

Although, I would say these should be good suggestions for any parent.

Here are 10 suggestions for raising godly children:

Realize that raising godly children does not usually happen by accident. It will require proper planning and implementation. You can’t just “hope” for the Bible to impact the life of your children. You’ll have to work at it daily.

Know what you want your child to look like as adults. Ultimately, as I said before, we wanted our boys to be like Christ, so He became the primary model we used. We talked about Jesus often. He was no stranger in our home — not just a Sunday occurrence.

Define for them what it means to be a Christ follower. For me that definition is one who knows what God requires of him and is willing to do whatever it takes to meet that requirement. We wanted our boys to understand that was not just a term it was a life mission.

Strive to live like Christ personally. I realized early in parenting that our boys would each, in many ways, be copycats of both of us — but especially me. Because of that, we were conscious of the fact they must see us willing to live out our own definition of who a Christ follower — being willing to walk by faith, even when we didn’t understand all He was doing — which was often. We had numerous hard seasons of life when the boys were little. We wanted them to see us handling the stress of life by seeking Christ’s input into our situations.

Have basic principles of spiritual growth that you want each child to learn. For me those were:

  • How to hear from God.
  • The importance of prayer.
  • What it means to be a student of God’s Word.
  • The act of surrendering to God’s will.
  • To apply Scripture to daily life.

Find practical teachings from God’s Word. Boys seem naturally attracted to stories about action, even violence to a certain extent. Of course, we wanted them to understand those things from a biblical perspective. And, the Bible is full of great stories. That meant looking at the characters of the Bible and how their lives represented Christ, how they heard from and obeyed God, and also how sometimes they failed to do so. Also, reading through Proverbs and Ecclesiastes was another helpful too to help implant wisdom in our boys. We talked about the stories of the Bible and how they impacted us today.

Individualize teaching time for the child. We seldom did the typical Bible study setting. We weren’t the weekly family devotion family. It simply didn’t work for us. We looked for teachable moments with our boys — for one boy, with me that was often while pitching a baseball together and for the other it was while kicking a soccer ball. Bedtime was another opportune time for teaching. It is amazing what children will do to delay bedtime, but if the discussion is productive We always felt their character development was most important. Dinner time was another opportunity when we could talk about the things of God.

Be purposeful to talk about the specific character traits you want your child to have. We decided each year what was most important for each boy to learn that year. We purposely brought up character topics, such as honesty or how to treat girls and discussed it with them during teaching moments when we had their full attention.

Be willing to grow in your own learning of who Christ is. Over the years, our understanding of who Christ is and how He relates to us and the world around us has continually grown. We allowed our boys to walk through those changes with us. We weren’t afraid to let them know we didn’t have answers or that we were wrong.

Pray and trust Christ. I know plenty of examples where parents did everything we did, yet they haven’t experienced the same results. Only God’s grace can really build godliness and every child has the ability to resist that grace. In the end, do all you know to do and trust God with your children.

I took personally that one of my responsibilities as a father was to see that these implemented in our home. I am thankful for a supporting wife who has worked with me to balance my role with her more nurturing role (which she is excellent at completing). So far our now adult young men are following after God’s heart in their own way.

My role has changed from my boy’s primary teacher to one of a mentor or coach. I’m their friend — still their dad, but it’s different now. They call me regularly for advice. They want my input in their life. More than anything, however, I’m thankful for the godly young men they have become.

Do you have a plan for your parenting?

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23 thoughts on “10 Suggestions for Raising Godly Children

  1. Great post Ron! And you are absolutely right! Part of our parenting skills is in praying for God's direction to acquire a vision for each one of our kids (4 of them). Every year we craft our vision for them (as well as for us as a couple) and fine tune the plan of action to implement that vision throughout the year. Once we get a pretty clear vision for their lives and our lives as a family for EVERY area, then we set goals. Yes, it's a big job. It takes us an entire day to do this but it give us a road map to go by which helps us make other decisions for living throughout the year. It works great every time. And like you, with two adult kids (one girl and one boy) loving Jesus, serving Jesus Loving their parents, wanting to be at home until marriage and successful in their careers… yeah, with God's help and grace it's working.
    In fact, I am working on putting a cheat sheet on the steps we take to do this and also working on a course to how to implement this. (my wife's idea :-) )…. I'll make it available on my blog as well.
    Thanks for some good points and reminders as well. I'm still developing this process, after more than 15 years of implementing our God-Given vision for our family. Never stop learning :-)

  2. Pingback: Voices of Wisdom:
  3. Fantastic list! I'll add a couple from my strategy to this:

    1. Involve your kids in your ministry. Now that doesn't mean that the kids have to be little pastors if you are a pastor. But I take this cue from identifying someone who would make a good spouse. The principle is that you should find someone whose ministerial inclinations are compatible with your own. As Christians we need to be involved in ministering in some capacity. Ministry doesn't apply only to the "hired professional help" that characterize the way many churchgoers think of their pastors. In fact, their job is to equip everyone else to be ministers. So when you marry, you need to find someone who is compatible. That is, you need to be able to fulfill your ministerial compulsions without pulling apart the marriage. For me and my wife, we have been involved in missions as well as Child Evangelism Fellowship. So we have dragged our kids with us to the mission field and helped them fit their gifts in with ours in fulfilling the mission. This gives them a place and teaches them how to fit in with a body of believers in using their gifts effectively. This works so well that my oldest son led my youngest son to Christ. He's also kept me on my toes when evangelizing overseas. He doesn't like for any part of the gospel to be left out of a presentation.

    2. Teach them as they go. That is to say that if I come in and see them watching TV, I'm liable to sit down and watch it with them. I may make light of the material they are watching, not in such a way as to demean their decision to watch it, but to help them see what message they are seeing on TV. I usually do this by pointing out something funny that they see as funny. Or – I have been known on rare occasions to sit down and laugh loudly when the laugh track laughs. They get a kick out of this sometimes. It helps them notice the proverbial man behind the curtain of the TV show and what he's really trying to say to them. Sometimes I just ask questions or strike up a conversation about what is going on. I may say, "Boy, that dad on there is a real loser. Are there any good dads on this show?" Meaningful exposure to the Scriptures gives them a basis for measuring the content of entertainment so I might also ask what David did in this situation or what God did to Israel when they did something similar." So i help them come up with their own biblical commentary.

  4. Good word Ron. God bless you & your family. There is nothing more fulfilling as a parent than seeing your kids reach adulthood and follow Christ with all of their heart.

  5. I am a student at Harvest Baptist Bible College on an island called Guam. I am taking this class called Christian marraige and I was reaserching about how to raise children in a godly way and I came across your blog. Thank you for the ten tip and it really help me to do my reaserch paper.

  6. Great article, Ron. As an elder couple at our congregation, my wife and I are often asked to speak to groups of parents about how to raise children who will love and follow God, and it's amazing how few have a plan they follow in parenting. Parenting needs to be "intentional", not "accidental"! I look forward to sharing your article and points with others – very helpful.

  7. Excellent! I really love these. Especially the point about considering what you want your children to look/live like as adults. Thanks.

  8. I came across your blog as I was searching for this week's scripture.
    But even though I'm years away from parenthood, I've already written down things that I want my children to know, particularly if I have a daughter. I have a notebook full of thoughts and scriptures and bits of wisdom that I want to share with her – things in my life that I want her to know. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to share that with her; if not, it's definitely wisdom that I can pour into other young women that God places in my life.