Parenting with Purpose?

This coming Friday, Harmony and Skyler Hensley will be celebrating the first birthday of their son, Ransom. Note to Mom…Ransom’s one year self-evaluation of performance and ministry goals for the coming year are due by September 15th…kidding.

I’m surprised by how few Christian parents are intentional about parenting their kids with a plan for the challenges they’re going to face in the future. On the occasion of Ransom’s first birthday, and our two other paid staff (Rebecca Hamilton and Katie Wetherbee) taking their oldest kids to college for the first time this week, I thought it appropriate to repeat this post from last year…

Many friends and supporters of Key Ministry are already aware of the new addition to our team last week. Harmony and Skyler Hensley welcomed Ransom Levi Hensley into their family early last Friday morning. Harmony very eloquently described the way in which Ransom’s arrival represents God’s response to years of prayer from the Hensley’s, their family and friends. Check out her post-it’s a must-read.

From a spiritual development standpoint, I can’t imagine how Ransom could have been given a better family. He has two parents who don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk. He’ll be exposed to all of the great stories of the Bible. He’ll be surrounded by people who will model an active and meaningful prayer life. Had he come along a day or two earlier, he might have found himself serving at his first respite outreach. He’ll always be surrounded by a supportive church family while growing up. But imagine the task confronting the Hensley’s over the next 18+ years!

A few weeks ago, I went back and visited my old church and saw Bill Burr. If they had a picture of an elder in the Bible, it would probably be Bill. I spotted Bill, shook his hand and told him he was looking good. He smiled, and responded, “Not too bad for 90, huh?”

Given the advances likely to occur in modern medicine, there’s an extremely good possibility that Ransom will still be serving God here on Earth (like Bill) in some capacity in the 22nd century. Consider how the world has changed in our lifetimes. What kind of world do we need to prepare him to face?

I’ve spent a lot of time this past year in the Old Testament. I’m amazed at the recurrent ineptitude of the spiritual leaders in Israel to pass along their faith to the next generation. Whenever Israel had a godly king, his heir generally demonstrated a tolerance for immorality and pagan worship exceeding that of preceding generations. I’d think that the kings would have prioritized their relationships with their children, if for no other reason than the reality that the preservation and expansion of the king’s legacy fell to his their children. I wonder if their stories were preserved as a reminder to us to depend upon God and to share the knowledge of Him with our children continually.

It’s hard for me to imagine any service we can provide more important or more impactful to the Kingdom than addressing the spiritual development of our kids. And not just our biological or adopted children…all of the children in our sphere of influence.

Here’s my hope for Ransom and all of our kids…

I hope Ransom has the opportunity to be a part of a church that will support him in fully using his gifts, talents and abilities to serve God’s purpose in his generation.

I hope Ransom will have the opportunity for relationships with adults who will reinforce and model for him the principles he’s taught by his parents.

I hope Ransom will be well-prepared for the spiritual battles he’ll have to confront in the world in which he’ll serve.

I hope Ransom’s children will know and love God and grow the spiritual legacy established by their grandparents.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. 

Deut. 7:9 (NIV)

Welcome to the team, Ransom!

Key Ministry is coming up on our tenth anniversary, but churches and families everywhere will be getting the presents. Stay tuned for a big announcement on Tuesday, September 4th.

About Dr. G

Dr. Stephen Grcevich serves as President and Founder of Key Ministry, a non-profit organization providing free training, consultation, resources and support to help churches serve families of children with disabilities. Dr. Grcevich is a graduate of Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), trained in General Psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University. He is a faculty member in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at two medical schools, leads a group practice in suburban Cleveland (Family Center by the Falls), and continues to be involved in research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medications prescribed to children for ADHD, anxiety and depression. He is a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Dr. Grcevich was recently recognized by Sharecare as one of the top ten online influencers in children’s mental health. His blog for Key Ministry, was ranked fourth among the top 100 children's ministry blogs in 2015 by Ministry to Children.
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1 Response to Parenting with Purpose?

  1. Another great post, one that is close to my heart, my passion – the intentional discipleship of children by the entire church. Your post reminded me of a Discipleship Plan that Secondary Nurturers were encouraged to fill out for the children they discipled in KidTrek After School Centers.

    Your reminder of it has motivated me to change it and update it for parents to use with their own children. I did a fast switch last night from a Secondary Nurturer to a parent. Take a look at it – would love any suggestions you and Harmony or anyone else might have. I wish I had had something like this when I was raising my children. CHILD DISCIPLESHIP PLAN

    Per your comments about Old Testament leaders whose children did not walk with God – such as David. In my study of the Old Testament as I developed the first year of Old Testament curriculum what struck me was how often it was due to the sin of the father. It was almost as if God used the loss of children as a way to bring “Godly” fathers who have sinned to repentance. We certainly see that in David.


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