Parenting is More Important than Evangelism

This article was published in the following newspapers:

Norris City Banner – Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Ridgway News – Thursday, November 20, 2008
Gallatin County Democrat – Thursday, November 20, 2008

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Parenting is More Important than Evangelism

There is no question that evangelism is very important. Just before Jesus ascended into heaven, he said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). We call this command the “Great Commission”.

Evangelism is very important. But Godly parenting is even more important.

In Mark 12:28, someone asked Jesus to identify the most important commandment of all.  In response, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:4-5, which says, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Have you ever read the next two verses?

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

Jesus tells us that the most important command in the entire Bible is in Deuteronomy
6:4-5. And immediately after that command is given, God tells us that our primary responsibility is to diligently teach that command (and the rest of God’s commands) to our children.

Witnessing to the nations is important, but teaching the truth to our children comes first!

Think about it:  In most of the churches you have ever attended, how many of the Christians there were first-generation converts, having neither a Christian father nor a Christian mother?  Less than 10%?  Less than 5%?

I estimate that around 95% of members in most American churches are the children of Christians, and probably the grandchildren of Christians. While thousands of people are coming into the Church through evangelism, millions of people are coming into the Church through godly parenting.

If the Church is willing to spend millions of dollars to send missionaries out to the furthest corners of the earth, then how much more should the Church be diligent to raise up her children in the Lord!

Go ahead and get out your checkbook, and donate generously to your church’s mission fund. That is important.

But first, sit down with your children every day, and teach them to love and obey God’s Word. That is more important.

~ Joseph M. Gleason

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About Fr Joseph Gleason

I serve as a priest at Christ the King Orthodox Mission in Omaha, Illinois, and am blessed with eight children and one lovely wife. I contribute to On Behalf of All, a simple blog about Orthodox Christianity. I also blog here at The Orthodox Life.
This entry was posted in Christian Education, Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Mark 12:28-34, Matthew 28:19-20, Newspaper Articles, The Orthodox Christian Family. Bookmark the permalink.

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