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Pentecostal parenting works

By Jay Mooney

Pentecostal parenting can make the difference!

Laura and I are not perfect parents, but by the grace of God all four of our children are Spirit-filled believers. We have gleaned helpful insights and techniques from great books and pastors. Moreover, the ideals of our Pentecostal faith found in Scripture have emerged in the model for our parenting.

Our youth need homes and churches that are committed to Pentecostal parenting. By God’s grace and your submission to the Holy Spirit’s leading in your home, you can be an effective parent.

From time to time, people ask us about our approach to parenting. Here are a few insights into our approach and how God has worked through it to build the faith of our children.

View your child as more than ordinary

Hebrews 11:23 says that when Moses’ parents looked at him, they declared that he was “no ordinary child” (NIV). What caused them to say that? Was it what they saw, or was it what they believed? I am convinced that it was what they believed. The passage says, “By faith … his parents … .”

What do you see when you look at your child? Do you see an ordinary child or an extraordinary child? Pentecost reflects on more than the ordinary.

When Laura and I looked at our firstborn, Elizabeth, we were overwhelmed with love for her. We dreamed of a godly future for her and have never stopped dreaming such dreams. Very soon we will be the proud parents of a graduate from Evangel University. We know that God has great days ahead for her.

When we look at our children, we have a choice to see them through the eyes of faith or through the eyes of flesh. Our primary view must be through the eyes of faith. It is normal to want greatness for our youth. It is better to want spiritual greatness for our youth.

Believe God for spiritual greatness in your children. Spiritual greatness is not achieved through trying to make your child famous or popular. It is found in a faith that reflects the character of Jesus Christ. When God finds such faith and character in our children, He finds trustworthy servants. When we see God’s character in our children, we can take comfort that fame, should it come, will not shut out the light of God’s Spirit in them.

Walk humbly in forgiveness

Forgiveness is powerful. We need to practice a life of humility through giving and seeking forgiveness as parents in our homes and churches.

Elise, our teenage daughter, learned the power of forgiveness at just 5 years old. She learned to forgive her little brother, Eric, and learned in that process the forgiveness that God had for her.

Eric, only 3 years old at the time, fed Elise’s doll to our dachshund. Elise was livid. She came crying to me for justice. I picked her up and comforted her. I began to explain how God had a way for her to feel better and not be troubled by anger for Eric. Elise learned how to forgive Eric and be free from anger, bitterness and rage. She learned that everything belongs to God and that she should give her toys to God and let God deal with Eric.

It was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced as a parent. Watching my daughter surrender her toys to God and sensing the freedom that came in that moment was powerful. However, Elise’s life took a giant spiritual step forward in the next moment.

I explained to Elise that God wanted something of hers that is far more valuable than toys. God wanted her heart and life. We wept together as the Holy Spirit fell upon us while Elise surrendered her life to Jesus Christ and His will. A couple of months later she was gloriously filled with the Holy Spirit as evidenced in her praise to God in other tongues.

On many occasions, Laura and I have needed to not just lead our children to forgiveness but also to model a walk of humility in seeking forgiveness publicly in our home before and with our own children. Sometimes our own humility may be one of the more powerful parenting moments. Acts 2:38 powerfully connects repentance and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Get your children into Pentecostal summer camps

Every year approximately 100,000 youth attend Assemblies of God district summer camps. Most of those students experience a memorable, lifetime encounter with God. Our two youngest, Eric (15) and Erin (11), were both filled with the Spirit and called to the ministry at a Pentecostal summer camp altar of worship.

As parents, we can discipline, model and teach the way of the Lord. Yet, the Holy Spirit is ready to teach in ways that we cannot (John 14:26). Let us lovingly welcome the Holy Spirit in our homes and youth meetings. Let us lead our youth to an encounter with One who gives life and breath.

Laura and I pray in the Spirit together at a makeshift altar in our living room. Our children witnessed that and now share in a Spirit-led prayer life. Pentecost does not necessarily make our children better Christians than other believing young people, but it does give our children a manner of communicating with God about things that are way beyond our parenting!

As much as any generation before them, this generation needs the leading of God’s Word and Spirit. Pentecostal parenting is not old-fashioned. It’s designed for a last-days generation (Acts 2:17-21).

JAY MOONEY is the director of National Youth Ministries of the Assemblies of God. His wife, Laura, is a tenured middle school teacher.

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