Fifteen years ago, God impressed upon me the answer to the question, â€śHow do you produce spiritual children. At the time I was a teacher and principal in a Christian school in Oconomowoc, WI. We had approximately 125 to 140 children in our school. I had a heart for my students. I wanted them to know the things I knew. I wanted them to love God and obey Him.
However, it was during my five years at the school that God demonstrated something to me that caused me to pack my bags and begin a new journey. God impressed upon me the primacy of Christian fathers and the necessity of a godly home for the production of Christian children.
I specifically remember Him giving me these two insights. The first came through a god-fearing family of eleven, nine children. (Thankfully we gave family discounts.) The children were respectful to adults. There was evidence of spiritual fruit in their lives. They were acquainted with the Scripture, and God mattered in their decision-making. It was evidenced in their self-government; even the young ones possessed it.
They were children that you marveled at. How could this be? What did their parents do to create such poetry? The answer came quickly. And it came through the fears of the other staff members prior to parent/teacher conferences. They warned me, â€śLook out for Mr. Westendorf.â€ť It was almost humorous, as if meetings with this man included a microscope. This was no anxious parent going off to school to meet with the â€śprofessionalâ€ť teacher, but rather our teachers feared his analysis. His godly presence somehow reversed the roles. I guess it was evident that he was the â€śprofessionalâ€ť when it came to teaching children.
It turned out that Mr. Westendorf was a humble yet intentional man. He loved his children and was willing to sacrifice his time and give his attention to them. He cared for them because they were under his authority. And to this day, he remains my prime example of Malachiâ€™s, â€śturning the hearts of the fathers to their children.â€ť This father of nine was raising godly offspring. And for the next five years I committed myself to grabbing the crumbs that fell from his table. Mr. Westendorf was not to be feared, but he was to be treasured. He displayed to me how God intended for children to be raised.
The second insight came as a result of trying to fill teacher vacancies. We wanted an emotionally and spiritually healthy, but also an academically effective atmosphere in the school. And in order to produce that environment we found ourselves looking for older women to teach the younger grades, women whose own children had grown. We also looked for godly and disciplined men for the later grades.
We determined that little souls are too tender for cold, young, â€śprofessionalâ€ť women, women who have never wiped tears and bandaged knees. No. We knew that children needed someone like â€śMom,â€ť in order to grow and thrive. They need the security of a seasoned womanâ€™s heart.
On the other hand, the older children, especially boys would require a manâ€™s man, adventurous yet always limited by Godâ€™s parameters, strong yet willing to â€śkeep an eyeâ€ť out for the most timid to make it onto the playground. The amount of pay never really allowed us to hire an older gentleman. Usually younger men, still starting out in life, could live a little leaner.
Well, as we tried to find these types of teachers, I guess at some point I just slapped my forehead, realizing what we were doing. It was a â€śeurekaâ€ť moment. We were trying to recreate the home. What God designed parents to do in the lives of their children, we were trying to emulate for the benefit of the school.
So those two insights, the primacy of Christian fathers and the necessity of a godly home environment are the keys that unlock the secrets of producing spiritual children. For the Church to reach its youth, it must reach into the homes. And the home is where fathers reign, so the Church must focus its attention on him.