Priestly Parenting

How to raise godly children

For the past 20 years, I’ve been on a pursuit to find out how to raise godly children, and for good reason—I have six of them! One of the most fundamental things I’ve learned is it’s no one else’s job to raise my children, but it’s mine as their parent. 

I was a youth pastor for years, and I can tell you that simply having your children in church will not make them godly people. You can’t have your kids in church enough for them to be transformed. Their schools won’t do it either. And I know our culture won’t do it! The only ones who can raise godly children are parents. And it takes more than just being godly parents. The job requires them to be priests. Your pastoral role is the most important relationship your family will ever have. 

So what does it look like to be a priest in your home? 

  • Priests worship God and teach others to worship God.

A priest reaches up to embrace and adore God and reaches out to the world to embrace and adore them and then connects the two with each other. To teach children worship, we have to teach them how to love God and receive love from Him and how to submit to His lordship and serve Him.

  • Priests are stewards of the sanctuary.

When your home is a sanctuary, it’s a place where your kids can come in and be spiritually safe. It’s a place where God feels welcome. As a parent, it’s our responsibility to guard the gates of our homes. What kind of spirit do you permit in your home? My wife and I go through our house and pray, and we ask God, “What spirit do we need to get rid of?” I love when people visit our home and expect a madhouse, but when they walk in they’re greeted with a peaceful atmosphere.

  • Priests practice the fear of the Lord, not the fear of man.

Our culture is concerned about every opinion but God’s, but the person who fears the Lord puts His opinion first. A priest says, “Listen, up to my driveway, you can have whatever opinion you want. But once you get to the driveway, God’s opinion reigns, and what He says goes!” Many times this means my opinion stops at the driveway too, because my house is submitted to Jesus and His opinion.

  • Priests teach their families about holy relationships.

My oldest son has been praying for his future wife since he was three years old. We’ve been praying for her too—that she would be godly and have priestly parents. Part of my job as a priest is to protect my children’s hearts. If they fall in with ungodly people, it’s my job to discipline them and say, “God’s not cool with this, and I’m not cool with this.”

  • Priests view obedience as worship.

We have a saying in our house: “Obey, right away, every day.” Being a priest means we have to model this behavior for our kids. When God tells me to do something, I need to obey right away so my children learn. John 14:15 says, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” My children need to know when I love God, I demonstrate this love through joyful obedience.

  • Priests help their spouses love Jesus more. 

The best way to help your spouse in this area is by modeling it for them. Rather than forcing them in their relationship with Him, love them into it by being a good example. A priest’s love for God is infectious!

Being a priest in your home can be challenging, and it’s easy to make mistakes. (Trust me, I’ve made many!) But thankfully there’s grace, and when we fail in any of these areas, God can redeem our mistakes, help us turn our homes into sanctuaries, and help our families understand how to have a relationship with Him.