First Things First

Teaching God’s Law and Grace at Home

Pastor Adrian Rogers was passionate about teaching his children about God: “When my first boy was born, I looked at that little red face, I saw my wife, kissed her, and thanked her for going down into the valley of the shadow of death to bring life into the world. Then I dropped to my knees and I wept. I said, ‘Oh God if I never amount to much, if I fail as a pastor, if I don’t know how to preach, if I am never heard of—oh God, make me a good daddy. Make me a man of God that my children can look up to.’”

Pastor Rogers wasn’t alone. Many Christian mothers and fathers experience that moment of deep introspection when children are born and plead with God to give them what it takes to be good parents.

Such was the case for Josh and Erin Sinquefield, friends of Love Worth Finding and parents to three boys—Webb, 7, Henry, 5, and Wade, 2.

Sinquefield Family

Though Josh is a full-time pastor and Erin serves as a hospital chaplain, “We felt unequipped,” Josh confessed. “We had the understanding of the Gospel and knew how to have Gospel conversations with strangers and on mission trips, but what about people we see every day? There was an uneasiness and a fear associated with that …We wanted to prepare, not pressure, and just the weight of that feels overwhelming. Do we have enough resources? Do we know how to answer their questions?”

The two were raised in Christian families and in church. Erin grew up listening to Pastor Rogers with her dad (she helped him download the MyLWF app to his phone); Josh grew up under the teaching of his own father, a pastor, and was blessed by the ministry of Pastor Rogers as well.

Reaching back to what they knew best, the couple decided to put first things first in their spiritual training: unconditional love. “Kids need to know they are loved and accepted no matter what they do or don’t do,” Josh said. “They need a healthy model of what following Christ looks like. They need us to be present. They need us to demonstrate compassion. They need an overdose of encouragement. They need to see parents make biblical community a priority.”

Children also need to be taught what the Bible says about God’s law and His grace, something the Sinquefields do regularly. Last year they used LWF’s Family Worship Kit to reinforce the teaching of the Ten Commandments to their sons. Designed as a once-a-week family devotional, the kit contains Pastor Adrian Rogers’ timeless book “Ten Secrets for a Successful Family: A Perfect 10 for Homes that Win,” 10 brief Bible studies, 10 family activity cards, 10 Scripture magnets for the refrigerator, and a Ten Commandments print that can be framed and hung or displayed on an easel.

“It was a great tool with just a few pieces,” Erin said. “It put handles on things we were already teaching. It wasn’t stressful either.” The Sinquefields receive LWF’s Daily Heartbeat email, they’ve studied through Pastor Rogers’ “What Every Christian Ought to Know” curriculum for adults, and they enjoyed LWF’s Names of Jesus Christmas ornaments as a family this past Christmas advent season.

“Love Worth Finding is a great resource for families for sound doctrine, encouragement, and information,” Erin said.

What other advice does this couple have for families on the spiritual training journey?

“Capitalize at bedtime,” Erin said. “Bedtime is when kids are ready to unpack their day and their defenses are down. Even if it takes longer than you’d like, that is a valuable time of day at our house. That’s when they want to talk about things that matter. We try hard to also make the most of ‘teachable moments,’ both positive and negative ones—routing them back to God’s Word when we can.”

The Sinquefields know they’re winning when they hear things such as their 7-year-old telling his younger brother about salvation and baptism or when they hear the sincere and pure words their sons voice in prayer. Also, when the children talk to one another, Erin explained: “Often they’ll say, ‘don’t you remember, mommy and daddy say…’”

For readers who may think the Sinquefields have it easy because they’re in ministry, Erin said they face the same big challenges as all Christian parents: “Keeping their attention. Showing grace. Trying to speak truth in a language children can understand without ‘dumbing it down.’ Making time to really hone in on spiritual things. Not getting aggravated when they’re not listening—when really they may be, even if they’re jumping around.”

The family watches little television, Erin said, “usually something educational, something kind, sports, or a good superhero movie night!” The only video gaming in the house is old-school Super Nintendo shared with dad. But the Sinquefields realize technology will always impact their children’s lives. “It’s increasingly difficult to shield them from the world because of how rapidly technology is expanding. So we are hoping to instill wisdom and biblical values so they’ll have some good decision-making skills and self-control.”

Which brings us back to The Ten Commandments: “They give us guardrails to live by,” Erin said. “And they show us our need for Jesus—that we are always in need of a Savior and grace.”