Have You Created a Wolf-Free Environment for Your Children?

youth-ministry-wolf

The 23rd Psalm is about Jesus, our Shepherd. The Psalm tells us that the shepherd “prepared a table in the presence of enemies.” The table was a new pasture. After sheep had grazed in a pasture and had soiled it some time, the shepherd needed to provide a fresh pasture for them. Doing so required thoughtful planning and preparation. He needed to find a suitable place for the sheep to live; one that was safe and allowed them to flourish. He didn’t tolerate even one wolf; he created a wolf-free environment! Like Jesus with His disciples you are a shepherd of your children.

Your Home Environment

You need to take an inventory of your home environment. Do you have possessions in your home that are not God-honoring? Do you have music, videos, books or anything else that would not please the Lord? Now is a good time to clean house of anything that is defiling or spiritually dangerous.

Other Environments

Are there other environments that could have wolves? When my son Ryan was four we were attending a large church and we took him to Sunday school. The building was setup for security purposes in such a way that required parents to drop the children at a checkpoint. Numerous teachers worked in the children’s department. I never felt comfortable with not personally taking my son to his Sunday school class, but I trusted that the church knew what it was doing. One Sunday we learned from Ryan that a strange man identifying himself as his father tried to pick him up. When the teacher, who didn’t know me, attempted to hand Ryan over to this stranger, Ryan emphatically stated, “That’s not my dad!” The teacher didn’t bother to tell us about the incident. We withdrew him from children’s Sunday school, and he began attending Sunday school with us.

Preparing a Table: Planning in Advance

If you can’t safely leave your child with church workers, with who can you entrust them? You need to plan in advance about your child’s living environment; every place that they will go. You need to chase off the wolves, whether it is ungodly entertainment or technology, or teachers, or coaches who are unbelievers. You need to limit time with peers who naturally do what children do. Prov. 22:15 tells us that “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;” all children are biblically defined as fools. Prov. 13:20 warns us and admonishes us to keep our children with those that are wise: “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.”

Jesus was constantly with His disciples and they were grown men. “I will fear no evil for You are with me.” Like Jesus, be a protector of your sheep. Eliminate the wolves. Protect them with your physical presence.

Alan Melton

Disciple Like JesusAlan Melton is the founder of Disciple Like Jesus ministry and co-author of "Disciple Like Jesus For Parents." The ministry encourages parents and grandparents to disciple their children in the same manner that Jesus made disciples. His articles have been featured in numerous publications, and he speaks at churches, associations and conferences. Alan has served the Lord as a church planter, pastor-elder, deacon chairman and business owner. He led Evangelism Explosion and FAITH evangelism training ministries for 10 years and juvenile delinquent ministries for 16 years. Married to Donna since 1977, he has two children, Jennifer and Ryan.


Comments

We must be prepared as youth

We must be prepared as youth workers to secure wolf-free ministries. Sometimes it means having those hard conversations with people who mean well, but haven't been taught that sarcasm, put-downs, etc. have no place in a healthy and welcoming ministry. Our society tells us a different story - but we have to listen to Jesus and follow his example always. Can I get an Amen?

Joanne Caton-Frank

Director of Education & Family Ministries

Parma Lutheran Church

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