How To Be An On Purpose Parent | The OPP Plan

One of the most overused sayings that I’ve heard in my lifetime is that “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” Even though this phrase has been repeated countless times, it hasn’t lost its validity. As an On Purpose Parent, you need a plan!

When creating a plan, it’s imperative to know your destination. This is where you’re headed and where you want to end up. You need to begin with the end in mind. As an On Purpose Parent, your main goal is to raise your children to become interdependent, life-long followers of Jesus who desire to make a Kingdom contribution.

We’ve designed the below image to illustrate the On Purpose Parent Plan which is intended to get you from where you are now to where you ultimately want to be. Pictured are what we’ve identified as the 5 Ages and Stages of Kids with the 5 Roles and Goals of Parents.

Now, there’s no perfect plan. But we hope the principles and insights you’ll gain from our strategy helps. When it comes to parenting your children through these Ages and Stages, there are 3 key parenting principles to incorporate:

1) Understand: As parents, we need to understand that our children will move through various Ages/Stages and what this looks like for our children and for us.

2) Appreciate: These Ages/Stages are part of how God designed the developmental process to take place. Parents are often frustrated by one Age/Stage or another, or they enjoy a certain Age/Stage so much that they mourn when it passes. Instead of embracing and enjoying the next Age/Stage of their child’s development, they grieve what’s been lost.

3) Adjust: This may be the most important principle to remember. Each Age/Stage is different for your child. They are changing, growing, maturing, developing their own since of identity and purpose and YOU need to change, too! How you raise a 13-year-old is obviously different than how you raise a 3-year-old. How you respond to challenges from a 6-year-old is obviously not how you’ll want to respond when that 6-year-old is 16! You will need to adjust your parenting strategies to fit the Age/Stage your children are in.

There’s a great verse in the Bible that applies to these three important principles of understanding, appreciating, and adjusting our parenting strategies based on the Ages/Stages our children go through. It’s a verse that was originally written to shepherds responsible for taking care of their flocks, but Bible scholars agree that it is meant to apply to anybody who has been asked to steward something of value.

“Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds.” Proverbs 27:23 (NLT)

As parents, God has given us something of immeasurable value to steward. When we understand that “flocks” and “herds” can apply to anything God has entrusted to us, it’s easy to re-read it this way:

“Know the state of your children, and put your heart into caring for your kids.”

This is what our next five “How To Be An On Purpose Parent” posts are dedicated to…helping you know the state of your children and how to care for your kids. We’ll help you Understand and Appreciate the Ages/Stages your children will go through, so you can Adjust your parenting strategies accordingly. And we’ll do this by focusing on your Roles and Goals for each Age and Stage.


  • Chris Reed | Pastor to Parents | Saddleback Church

    Chris married his beautiful bride, Tina, in 1990. They have three wonderful adult children, Jacob, Kaylee, and Macie Joy. Chris began pastoring at a church in Los Angeles in 1995 where he was the Children’s and Student Pastor. He was the Executive Pastor of Student Ministries at John Maxwell's church in South Florida before he came to Saddleback in 2008 as our Pastor to 20s/30s. He has since served as Pastor to Singles and Pastor to Marriages. He is currently our Pastor to Parents leading the charge for all things Parents Ministry at Saddleback. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biblical Studies and his Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership.

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