Over the last few weeks and months, our youngest child Declan has been asking more and more questions about faith. Anita and I have tried to handle these questions with hope, optimism, and a healthy share of reality.
After decades of ministry, we have seen far too many families passively or over-exuberantly allow their young children to follow through the public expressions of faith without carefully discerning the sincerity or genuineness of the child’s claims. Conversely, we have also seen parents so concerned with whether the child truly has come to faith, that they delay his/her opportunity to step forward publicly and share what could actually be his/her surrendered life to Jesus.
Thankfully, we have an amazing family and church family that has walked with us in partnership as we have been raising our children to know, love, and be loved by the Lord. From grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, and brothers; pastors, ministry leaders, small group leaders, volunteers, and friends, our children have seen and heard what it truly means to follow Jesus.
Tonight over dinner, Declan asked if we could pick up the conversation we were having after Grace Kids this Sunday at a program called Jumpstart. Our incredible Children’s Ministry Director Randi Gilbert led the gathering of several families through a clear and concise presentation of the Gospel.
Over chicken strips, macaroni and cheese, and green beans, we asked Declan the questions we felt were most important and revealing of his motivation and understanding to have these conversations. His answers not only met the doctrinal bar, they were his words, and his belief. We then asked if he wanted us to help him surrender to Jesus; he said yes, and so we did.
All my life I’ve wanted to be a dad, and from the moment God chose to bless my life with children, my greatest prayers have been that each of my children would come to a life-changing understanding of the Gospel. Tonight my greatest prayers have been answered.
Declan, there is nothing in this life you could do to make me more proud of you than I am tonight. I love you, my son, my brother in Christ.
Thank you Jesus, for your love, grace, mercy, and kindness. I am the most blessed man to have ever lived!