In the summer of 2010, my boss handed a copy of Dr. Michelle Anthony’s book, Spiritual Parenting to the entire kidmin team. My daughters, Isabel and Sofia, were 5 and 4 years old at the time. As a dad, even one who was on staff at a church working in children’s ministry, I really struggled with how to impact my girls spiritually. I had questions: Are my wife and I doing this right? Is there more than just going to church and a midweek program? How do we talk about spiritual formation in our home? Reading Spiritual Parenting was a gamechanger for our family. The book gave my wife Noel and I a common language to use for spiritual formation, an understanding of how to engage in the work of discipling our kids, and a release from the pressure to create perfect kids through perfect parenting.
In the book, Dr. Anthony walks through ten environments that shape a child’s spiritual development.
- Faith Community
- Out of the Comfort Zone
- Course Correction
- Love and Respect
Over the years my family has integrated these environments into our home because we want the physical environment where we spend most of our time as a family to exude the language of spiritual formation. For example, we have an “Identity” wall at our house that has three things for each of our kids: their picture, a chalkboard with their name and it’s meaning, and the Bible verse we chose for them before they were born. There are times when we ask our girls to just sit and remind themselves of their identity by looking at that wall, considering their verse, and the meaning of their name. These are critical reminders reinforcing the reality that our kids are made in God’s image!
Next Step Suggestions:
Get a copy of Spiritual Parenting and put it in the hands of your children’s ministry team and pastoral staff. Include a letter encouraging them to keep the book in their beach bag this summer. Spiritual Parenting is a great gift, but if you resonate with the family ministry philosophy in the book it will allow you to share that philosophy with your church staff in a significant way. Our children’s ministry team went through this process and experienced a family ministry momentum shift in our church as a result.
Keep a couple copies of Spiritual Parenting on your bookshelf to give away to parents (or even grandparents) struggling with questions of how to be the primary nurturers of their children’s spiritual development. This book has been my go-to giveaway resource!
Get the Spiritual Parenting DVD curriculum. The six-week class curriculum is perfect for a parenting small group or class. I have run the curriculum in both settings and highly recommend it. Dr. Anthony is an incredible Bible teacher and guide, the materials are easy to use, and the format allows for rich discussion.