I remember several years ago now sitting in a staff meeting here at Watermark where a question was posed to a unique group of individuals on our staff. As anyone who has hung around Watermark for any length of time will tell you, there are numerous amazing stories of people’s lives being dramatically changed by God out of all kinds of circumstances — drugs, infidelity, abortion, abuse, isolation, codependency, homosexuality, etc. And that’s just our staff!
But the question for this particular morning was aimed at those of us whose lives had been touched by the gospel from a very early age and who had never really strayed from that general path of faithfulness, avoiding many of the common pitfalls of our peers. The question to those of us who grew up in the church was something like this: “What has been the most impactful factor for you in the steadiness and endurance of your faith?"
For the next several minutes, I listened as story after story recounted the faithfulness of loving parents in a variety of ways modeling for their children a faith that was real, reliable, and relevant and why those small acts of faith in the lives of their parents were still so invaluable for them today. These were not retellings of regular family devotions or beautiful moments of family worship, but were accounts of parents who got up every morning to study God’s Word and pray for their kids, parents who wrote notes of encouragement and Scripture to drop in kids’ lunch boxes and parents who invested in and hosted non-believing friends in their homes so that they might share the good news of the gospel with them.
That morning affirmed for me a truth I had already embraced and experienced myself as a child growing up in the church: there is NO ONE more significant in the faith development of a child than their parents.
That simple truth is why we say that our mission in Watermark Kids is to partner with parents to train up the next generation of fully devoted followers of Christ. We’re not saying that what happens when your child is with us is insignificant. What we are saying is that we believe God’s primary and best plan in the lives of kids is to use the faithfulness of moms and/or dads to lay a solid foundation of faith and build on that foundation through daily acts of obedience and intentional discipleship at home. God’s Word made this clear in Deuteronomy 6:1-9 where His people were given a clear mission to diligently teach their children at any and every given moment of every day to love God with all of their being. This mission still exists and is why we believe our highest calling as a ministry is to support and encourage parents in that calling.
Our strategy for this mission is really simple. Watermark Kids creates resources every week full of ideas for your family to use to engage in meaningful, intentional discipleship in your home. These resources go along with the lessons and principles we’re teaching your kids on the weekends and are designed as simple, practical, and doable within the natural routines of your daily life.
Our goal is not to add something to your plate, but to equip you to use the everyday items on your plate as natural opportunities for discipleship. Meal times, carpooling, bed times and morning routines are all key moments we want to help you take full advantage of for the sake of your child’s faith.
Each Saturday, we publish two blog posts, one for preschool parents and one for elementary parents, with ideas you can use during your week. You can sign up to receive these blog posts as emails if you wish, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter for reminders throughout the week. Use all of the ideas, one of the ideas, or create your own discipleship moments. Whatever you do, do something. Be intentional and invest in things that last forever in the lives of your kids.
Twenty years from now, what will your kids say about the impact that you had on their faith and their walk with Jesus? Our prayer is that they will talk about your faithfulness and thank the Father for how He used it to train them up to a life of full devotion to Christ for all of their days.