In 1 Peter 5:2-3, Peter trains the elders in the scattered early churches to “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve, not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”
Most of us are probably not elders in a larger church body, but as parents we can use these same
principles to shepherd the flock God has given us care over in our homes.
Shepherds do many things to keep their sheep safe and provide for their needs. Shepherding activities
can be focused into a few categories: tending (caring for), guarding (protecting), and leading (being an example).
As parents, God has given each of us a flock to tend. No matter how many lambs are in our flock, we are
entrusted to care and provide for them no matter the season, no matter their condition.
Tending our flock seems like all we do as parents especially when they are younger. Preparing this meal
while thinking about the next, cleaning up messes, doing laundry, and training them in the truth about
Jesus in the midst of all the craziness of everyday life. Tending is SO important to helping our children feel safe and stay mentally, emotionally and physically healthy.
Tending to our flock includes training each of them to take care of themselves physically, mentally,
emotionally, and spiritually. Many sheep are unable to care for themselves – they will eat themselves
right off a cliff or potentially die if they roll onto their backs and no one is there to roll them back over and steady them to stand back up… gladly, that’s where our symbolism breaks down!
We need to teach our children self-discipline in all areas and prepare them to start their own flock
someday. We can train them with this great leadership strategy:
1. I do it, you watch.
2. We do it together.
3. You do it, I watch (and assist as needed).
4. You do it, I go do something else/train someone else.
You can teach your child how to read the Bible using this strategy.
1. Have your child sit next to you on the couch and read a children’s Bible while you read your own
Bible and pray.
2. Read through a Bible together and ask discussion questions after each section/chapter.
a. What did this passage say?
b. What could God want us to do with this information?
3. Sit next to your child as s/he reads his/her own Bible and ask comprehension questions
afterward (same questions).
4. Establish a time your child will read his/her own Bible each day and ask about it sometime
during the week.
These disciplines help your child establish a habit of seeking God through reading His Word.
What are some strategies you use to tend to your children’s spiritual growth?