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The Myth of the Neutral Home

Parents, when it comes to influence and your children’s spiritual growth, there is no one more humanly important than mom and dad. You are the agents of influence and the home is the primary sphere of that influence. Unfortunately, many Christian parents view their role and home differently. At the risk of being too simplistic, let me try to explain using a continuum of positive, neutral and negative.

Parents tend to see their discipling activity at home in one of three different places:

  • POSITIVE HOME: the parents do specific, intentional things with their kids at home to move them closer to Jesus
  • NEUTRAL HOME: outside of taking their kids to church services on Sunday or praying at the occasional meal/bedtime, the parents don’t do anything strategic or intentional at home to move their kids closer or further away from Jesus.
  • NEGATIVE HOME: the parents intentionally do things at home to move their kids away from Jesus

While I don’t think most parents would characterize their homes as NEGATIVE they would describe them as NEUTRAL – meaning outside of coming to church, there is no real, strategic activity by the parents to help grow their kids’ faith. The problem with that type of thinking is that, in reality, there is no neutral.

Why? If our home is devoid of any intentional spiritual interactions with our kids and the only time they really hear, learn, or study about Jesus is at church, guess what they’ll begin to believe as they grow into adults? Most likely that Jesus is only for Sundays and that faith, far from making a real difference in life, should be partitioned from it. They grow up into men and women who believe God is someone to run to when there’s been a tragedy or when you need something from him (maybe). However, for the 99% of the rest of their lives, Jesus isn’t a person you actually follow but a building you show up at once or twice a month (maybe).

Let me ask: Does that sound neutral for growing your kids’ faith?

Neutral homes are myths. There is no middle ground when it comes to the spiritual development of our children. The better picture of our options at home is as follows.

What we do in the home will either move our kids toward Christ or away from him. Now, if that feels weighty, it should. But not hopeless. You can make a difference! You can begin 2013 making your home a huge POSITIVE leverage point for the gospel by being intentional in moving your kids to Jesus. Even if it’s just doing just ONE THING you didn’t do last year. Read the Bible with your kids. Pray regularly with your kids. Talk to your kids throughout the week about Christ and the goodness of the gospel. Just do something Mom and Dad! Live out the faith you claim to believe and don’t abdicate your influence to others who will never have the leverage you do.

Remember, neutral homes are a myth!

Picture of Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

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