"To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord." (1 Timothy 1:2)
In Paul's letters to Timothy and Titus, we often see that he refers to them as "a true son" or "beloved son." This may appear strange as Paul never married and had no children. However, Paul spent a significant amount of time admonishing and teaching the younger men in his life the ways of Christ.
Spiritual parenting is vital in the Christian church today. Spiritually mature men and women have a responsibility to mentor those that are less mature in the faith. The mature men in the Christian church should encourage the younger men and likewise, the more mature women should encourage the younger women. The aged Christian should lead by example and teach the younger generation the word of God. The spiritual parent must not only be mature in years but most importantly, mature in their walk with Christ. To be mature means to be "fully grown" or "fully developed." A spiritual parent or mentor should be fully grown spiritually.
Spiritual parents should train the "spiritual child" by using the same grace God uses in bringing salvation to all men and women.
Ephesians 6:4 states, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Mentors should be careful not to irritate or worsen the pain that a younger Christian may be experiencing. The aged Christian should exercise their authority by extending grace when the spiritual child errs. The less mature Christian has not yet been freed from doing what the flesh pleases.
Many children mimic the same behavioral patterns they see their parents representing within the home. Similarly, a spiritual child will model exactly what they see the spiritual parent doing within the church. Therefore, a spiritual parent must be one that models godly mannerisms, characteristics, and conduct. They should have reverent behavior and godly conversation. In this present age, it is crucial that the more mature Christian teaches the younger Christians to live soberly and righteously.
Having spiritual parents in the church will also give the younger generation an opportunity to find God's purpose and calling on their life, including their call in the ministry. Who knows, the spiritual parent may even receive a sweet surprise when they gain knowledge of a new skill set taught from the younger generation of the spiritual child.
Christina is the founder of Relentless Love Ministries and lives in Linton. She is an active speaker, guest lecturer, and published author. For more information, questions, or comments, email firstname.lastname@example.org .