Five Goals for Shepherding Teenagers

Paul Tripp gives five specific goals each parent should have as they shepherd their teenagers.

1. Focusing on the Spiritual Struggle: Do not allow the seen to trump the unseen.

2. Developing a Heart of Conviction and Wisdom: Teach your children how to obey the Scriptures and to apply wisdom to those places that the Scriptures do not speak directly to.

3. Teaching a Teenager to Understand and Interact Redemptively with His Culture: He must neither reject the culture altogether or drink culture in without a second thought.

4. Developing a Heart for God in Your Teenager: There should be day to day evidence of your teenager’s hunger for God.

5. Preparing Teenagers for Leaving Home: “This is the goal of all those years of parental labor.”

Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Part I

Worship is the grand event in the life of a Christian. Or at least it should be. Too often worship does not feel very grand. There are many reasons for this. However, one reason that is overlooked is our failure to prepare for worship. The Israelites were expected to be prepared for worship. We should prepare as well.  God does not want us to enter his presence with distracted minds, weary bodies, and cold hearts. He wants us to enter his house focused, rested, and with zeal. Our aim should be to bring him our best every Lord’s Day. Here are some suggestions to help you prepare for the Lord’s Service.
Preparation During the Week
  1. Make sure you are doing family worship and/or personal devotions. In worship we sit underneath God’s Word, sing, and pray.  If your week does not have these things in them then worship will seem foreign. God’s Word will seem like a strange tongue to you. The prayers in worship will bore you instead of excite you. It will be hard.  To come into God’s house prepared you  must spend time in the Word, prayer, and song throughout the week.
  2. Spend time during the week with members of your local church.  It is good to spend time with Christians from other churches. However, the priority should be on those from your local body. These are the ones you will worship with on Sunday. These are the ones who will sit under the word with you and pray with you.  These are the ones you will visit with following the service.  When you meet with them during the week, discuss the things of God. What are they learning from the Scriptures?  What do they remember about last week’s sermon?  What are they struggling with? Pray with them before you part ways. Then the bonds of Christian love will be strong when you meet before the Lord on Sunday.
  3. Confess your sins during the week.  One of the greatest hindrances to Spirit filled worship is the failure to confess our sins.   We must regularly bring our sins before the Lord pleading the shed blood of Christ.  We must also confess our sins to each other. Do not enter God’s house with broken relationships. If you have sinned against someone, go to your brother and get forgiveness.
  4. Work hard, so you will be ready for a day of rest. Remember we are to labor six days, not five. That doesn’t mean you have to work at your job six days. But it does mean Saturdays are not generally a day off.
Preparation on Saturday
 Preparing for Sunday is a key ingredient to coming into God’s house in the right frame of mind. Here are some practical things you can do on Saturday to get ready for Sunday.
1.      Get anything you need for church ready. This would include getting out church clothes, filling diaper bags, preparing food for a potluck, getting gas for the car, having your Bible out, etc.  Nothing dampens the drive to church like someone being mad because they couldn’t find the right pair of shoes. Try to make Sunday smooth by thinking ahead.
2.      If possible, plan and prepare for the Sunday meals on Saturday. For Sunday breakfast we do either cold cereal or hot breakfast that can be prepared Saturday night. For lunch on Sunday, plan a meal that you can prepare ahead of time. The point is to be free on Sunday to worship, fellowship, and rest. Husbands you should help your wife do some extra cooking on Saturday so she can rest on Sunday.
3.      Read over the sermon passage for the next day and pray for the worship service.  You will get more out of worship if you have thought about it prior to entering the sanctuary.
4.      Get to bed at a decent hour.  Four hours of sleep will not prepare you to feast on God’s Word.
Preparation on Sunday
1.      Get up at a decent hour. If you have an hour to get ready for worship you will probably not be prepared.
2.      Read some Scripture, sing, and pray before coming to church. Our family sings as we drive to worship. Here are some specific things you can pray for.  I am sure you can think of more.
a.       Pray for me as I preach.
b.      Pray for the hearts of the people to stirred to hear God’s Word and sing His praises.
c.       Pray for the Spirit to be working.
d.      Pray that God would bring new people into the church.
3.      Eat a good breakfast. Hunger is not a virtue during the sermon.
4.      Arrive early so you can greet the saints and settle your body and soul before the service begins. Coming in right at 10:30 or late will not help you worship.
5.      Use the restroom prior to worship.