Leading by Example

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Contributed by Chad Seidler, Director of Ministry & Assistant to the Lead Pastor at Image Church

Every few months, I pick-up and read a small booklet written by Mark Driscoll called – “Pastor Dad:  Scriptural Insights on Fatherhood.”  Fathers, I highly encourage you to read this, and read it often.  You can access the booklet by clicking HERE.

I usually find myself reading this booklet when I’m frustrated, exhausted or simply need some encouragement in knowing that I’m striving to rear my children to love, fear and serve God.  I currently find myself reading “Pastor Dad” once again, and I would be remiss to not share a few thoughts.

My Dad led by example.  I know this because of the spiritual foundation that I have in my life because of his instruction – a foundation that holds true to this day.  As a child, I saw Proverbs 22:6 prominently displayed in various locations around my house –

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

When my wife and I began our family, I immediately claimed this verse for my household.  This responsibility of training begins with me as a Father, and it’s a responsibility that should never be taken lightly.  I’m not perfect, nor do I know all the answers – just ask my son…he’ll agree.  However, I have learned a few things by watching the example of my Dad, the example of my trusted friends and by leading within my own home.

  1. Make sure that your children see you studying the Bible and spending time in prayer.  If they see that’s it’s a priority for you, maybe it will become a priority for them.  Children love to mimic the actions of their parents.
  2. Have a regular devotion time with your kids.  The most important thing is to get them into the Bible.  There are also a lot of good age-specific devotions available, too – we currently use a book called “Gotta Have God,” which comes equipped with reading, questions, prayers and projects.
  3. Pray for your kids – OFTEN!!!  And then pray for them some more.
  4. Have the right balance – don’t overwhelm, but don’t expect too little.  There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be reading the Bible, praying with the family, asking lots of questions and serving alongside you.
  5. Be a broken record.  Kids are prone to forgetfulness (they get that from us, you know).  Instruct, and instruct repeatedly.
  6. Instruction must be reinforced with discipline.  You can’t have one without the other.  Kids must be taught right from wrong, the consequences of disobedience, and then those consequences need to be enforced.  God has modeled the way with us – we should emulate the same with our children.
  7. Discipline in love.  Can you imagine if God wasn’t loving and merciful to us with His discipline?  And trust me…it’s easy to react, but be careful with that – ACT with love.
  8. Be creative.  Remember what your imagination was like as a kid – hopefully some of us still have a spark of that imagination today.  Make learning about God interactive and memorable.
  9. Never be too busy for your kids.  Drop whatever you need to in order to make them feel like they are the priority for you.
  10. Be your child’s superhero.  Don’t ever let someone (other than God) swoop in and take your place as the hero in your family.

By no means exhaustive or exclusive…just a few reminders (especially for me) of how we as Dads need to be leading by example within our homes.

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