Dads – if you have passed the Spiritual Instigator 101 class, then you are ready for the next course in the series.
The next key skill of spiritual leadership is Infiltration.
The act of infiltration is to get on the inside. For example, spies infiltrate a foreign country or a rival company so that they can build relationships and learn. I think this analogy is good, actually. Have you ever felt like your child is from a different country, or perhaps another planet? (I won’t ask you that same question about your wife…let’s just keep moving along.)
As we take our spiritual leadership to the next level, we need to infiltrate the worlds of those we love. Not to spy on them, but to love them. Become a student of your wife. Become a student of your child. Get into their world and be with them. Connect with them on their terms. Here are some practical ideas:
Wendy’s Bible Time with your child, age 4 to ?
- Buy a Wendy’s adoption key chain, because adoption is awesome.
- Take your child to Wendy’s.
- Each of you needs to have a Bible, something to write on, and something to write with.
- Get 2 Frosty’s and a drink.
- Sit and read, pray, and write with your kid.
This will cost about $1.85 and probably 30-60 minutes, and it is worth it. I take my son (age 8) and he reads a Psalm and a chapter from Luke, and then he draws a picture of it. Then I ask him a few simple questions about what he read. Then I lead a short prayer, and we head home.
*Note: with older kids this could be a coffee shop and a blended drink. Same idea, just a few dollars more and a deeper conversation.
Download the Pause App
John Eldredge and the Wild at Heart team have created an awesome app to help you calm down and relax in this out of control world. They have recorded short prayers that you can listen to and pray along with. I started doing this myself, and then I invited my boys to join me. Then they asked if we could listen to it at bedtime to help them calm down and fall asleep. Now, at current count, we have listened to this app every night before bed for 184 consecutive nights! The boys remember even when I don’t. It is training them how to calm their minds and focus on God. But remember, you aren’t playing this FOR them. You are doing this with them. (You can download it here.)
Plan to start every day with prayer.
Even though you are technically not with them while you are doing this activity, you are actually leading by example and checking in with the Commander of the Invasion. So it fits. Trust me. And once in a while it is good for them to come downstairs and see you praying, so they know that you are practicing what you preach.
Volunteer at church in some way.
If you are dating or married, volunteer with her! If you have kids, volunteer in their area so you can be near them and get to know their friends and their leaders. And bring them along with you as you hand out food at a homeless shelter or as you clean up your neighbor’s yard after a storm.
Ask them about the music that they like.
If you have kids, enter their world and find out what music they like, then play it for them. Learn the lyrics with them. The worship leader at church would probably love to tell you how to listen to the songs that they play each Sunday. There are so many free or cheap ways to play music…YouTube, Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, etc. Find the songs on these sources and make the investment to become an expert so you can sing together as a family. Music has been a wedge between generations in the past…make it a glue for your family instead!
Put It All Together
Remember, it all starts with identity. Then you Ask and Listen. Then you learn some simple ways to Instigate. Then you continue your leadership journey by courageously entering in to your wife’s world and your kids’ world to enjoy it with them. This is how you will build connection and memories that last. This is what a spiritual leader does.
What are ways that you enter into your children’s world on a regular basis?