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Owning the Spiritual Growth of Your Child

I remember when my wife and I had our first child 14 years ago. We were actively involved in children’s ministry at the time and would minister to children every week. We saw the Holy Spirit move in their lives and the supernatural became natural for us in so many ways as we witnessed God reach out and touch lives.

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I often say God entrusts us with some of the biggest decisions when we are the least prepared. And the funny part is that in many cases our parents or caregivers set the spiritual growth track we are on. When we had our daughter Nicole, a missionary couple whom we loved and cared for like our own family spoke a word of wisdom into our lives.

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They asked us “do we read to our baby every night?” She was so young—barely 2 weeks old at the time—so we said “not yet.” They encouraged us to do this every night. So we started a tradition that we have kept ever since.

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From the time our children were born and barely able to hold their heads up, we have been reading Scripture together. We have finished many versions of children’s Bibles and often have long discussions on things that truly matter.

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I recall the other night we read the story of Joseph, and this time the discussion was about fairness. The question was raised if it was fair what happened to Joseph when he was imprisoned. It surely was not, as Potiphar’s wife was the guilty party. Yet then the question was asked “was he was in God’s will?” And we believe he was. So the question that begs to be asked next is: does God’s plan for our lives include fairness?

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Our children, ages 11 and 13 at the time, had a field day arguing and discussing this controversial topic. I miss these times when I am gone on the road and my wife is at home, faithfully reading the Bible with them every night. Sometimes, it is a short night, when we are all very tired. But at other times, our discussions make for the most amazing memories.

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We have had deep talks some nights, and other nights just read and prayed, yet some of the values of our children have been shaped by this. Talks about sex and other difficult matters have arisen from this as well.

Something as simple as this nightly habit creates a sense of culture and repetition that our children can hang onto. They know it is part of who we are and, I hope, who they will be with their own children.

With true joy we are starting to see our own children confront evil and argue with great insight matters in their lives and those of their friends as well. Laying a strong foundation with God’s Word is so important! This we trust will add to the love that is being created for His Word in their lives.

We will always be in debt to Ed and Sonja Corbin for their advice to a young naïve and inexperienced couple years ago!

JacquesJacques van Bommel is founder and head of Reaching a Generation ( ministry. His passion is to reach children with the gospel and see true transformation in their lives.  Reaching a Generation has a ministry base in South Africa as well as Zambia (on the banks of the Zambezi River).  His ministries focus is to influence those who influence our children, from education programs to family programs to peer to peer initiatives. These programs and resources aim at empowering the churches and individuals to minister to the children in their community and see their lives change with a new “normal” – a biblical world view!  Jacques has been in Children and Youth ministry for the past 20 years and has lots of cool tricks of the trade with deep insights to share.


Jacques Van Bommel

All stories by: Jacques Van Bommel