Family Discipleship: Getting Started
Home Discipleship is the cornerstone of practical methods of raising up men and women of God. However, in America alone, 70-80% of children that grow up in "Christian Households" decide to walk away from their faith by freshman year in college. So the question that we must face as the Church of Christ is; Are we properly raising disciple's in our children's generation correctly? From any stand point, the answer as a collective statistic, is NO. There are a million reasons and ideas of why that is. Scholars and Theologians may propose the why's, but what I want to talk about are some solutions to help you and your children.
Any parent knows the saying; Do as I say, not as I do. However, this is completely the contrary of what Christ calls of us. He calls us to walk out our faith, for without works our faith is dead, '14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead,' James 2: 14- 17. When discipleing our children we must think in the ways that Christ discipled in His life.
One of many ways he taught was through His daily actions. On multiple occasions he was seen going somewhere to pray in the morning. "And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed," Mark 1: 35. This act, whether His disciples knew it or not, showed that communion with God the Father is necessary. In the same ways, parents, should show by action that they want and desire to be with God. It can be as simple as reading and having your child join you in reading a chapter.
Jesus also taught through parables. Parables were relatable stories told by Jesus to show people the truths that God wanted for His people to live. Tell your children stories about characteristics that makes sense to them! Or just tell them stories of your life or testimonies.
Most importantly in my opinion, Jesus taught through His Testimony. Testimony by definition is a true event that occurs in ones life (past or present). How many times in the Bible do we see Jesus do something that a town or country didn't talk about. He performed many miracles, each one was told and somehow spread to others in neighboring cities. His life was well known, His reputation was well known. How many times did His actions change His surroundings? How many of those times was God not Glorified? God uses every action we take to show Himself through a living Testimony! It is up to us as individuals to show and reveal God's hand in our life to those around us. As parents, it is glorifying to God when you share God's miracles in your life to your children. How amazing would it be to see parents asking for forgiveness, or to show how a Sin has no hold on your life anymore! Parents, your testimony with God is a powerful tool for your children! It shows imperfections, God's Grace, and an active presence of God in your life. This is exactly what Christ wants: Active Relationship (in all aspects of your life).
Remember Monkey Sees and Monkey Does. Children's lives are shaped by what the parent does or doesn't do. If you show up late, or are openly lazy; guess what, the kids will think it is okay as well. I know it seems challenging to be Christ minded all the time, or even want to after busy days. Beware, letting your Children's or Youth Pastor be the main discipleship of your child's life may disappoint you. The children will not take in 2 hours a week of God stuff and turn it into 7 days a week practical steps of having a relationship with God. This isn't just my opinion it is God's desire as well, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it," Proverbs 22: 6.
1. Have a single vision with your spouse for discipleship
2. Your strength of relationship with God will determine strength of relationship you want for you children so take time for You and God
3. Seek places to serve in "darkness" (this can show differences of light of God and darkness of the world)
4. Little Time is better than No Time at all (Read, share, story telling can be done anywhere)
5. Be consistent and get into a rhythm with one thing at a time (slow and steady wins the race)
6. It is okay to ask for forgiveness from your children (You and I aren't perfect, we must stop trying to act like it)
7. Just Disciple (You will have no regrets)
All it takes is one day, one minute, one decision to start something eternal. A wise Pastor once said along the lines of, "Who you are today effects who you are tomorrow. Who You are tomorrow effects a whole lot of people. Choose what is best for tomorrow, and lives can be changed for God's Kingdom."