What does making disciples of your children look like? If we think about Jesus, many “pictures” come to mind. We can see Jesus teaching in a boat, healing in a village, talking in a home, calling by a lake. Thus it is with making disciples of children, we train in many settings. Here is one picture of what a day could look like with your children.
You get up in the morning and have your coffee or tea while you are studying the Bible and asking for the Holy Spirit’s help during the day. You pay attention to what you are studying because you know that later on you will be teaching this to your family. As your children come to breakfast, you might have an unexpected conversation with your six year old about why it’s raining outside. She doesn’t like the rain but you remind her that God knows what’s best. Rather than listening to the morning show, you have some edifying music playing on the radio. When he wakes up, maybe you sing to your baby Christ-honoring songs while you change his diaper and feed him. You and your spouse may be talking about the goodness of the Lord. Some fathers are praying for their families before departing for work. Other fathers are working from home and are leading a family devotional. Afterward, it’s time for all of you to do the things God has called you to do whether work, chores, school, shopping, etc.
Later you and your children take some cookies and visit a neighbor. You find out that she has a family member who is in a nursing home, so you plan to take your children to visit them one day. Your neighbor tells you about a sister who has cancer, and you gather all the children around to pray with her for healing. A trip to the grocery store with your children gives you the opportunity to put on an audio recording of your favorite praise music or an interesting child’s adventure with a biblical message. You give a tract to the cashier because she commented about having a tough day and you share your testimony with the bagboy because he asked you on the way to the car about what you said to the cashier.
Dad returns home from work and takes the children to the park while mom fixes dinner. You point out God’s creation to your children; how He made each animal according to its kind. Later during dinner you are talking about how the Lord is working in your lives; providing for all your needs. Each child tells you about their day. You then watch a carefully selected, God-glorifying video or play a game together and then lead in family devotions. Now it’s time to get the children ready for bed, and you have some praise music playing now. Then it’s time for bedtime stories, prayer, and lights out. You and your spouse now have some much needed time together.
Now think again with me about the way that Jesus made disciples. Isn’t the day I described much the same as Jesus with His disciples?
There is No Exact Formula
Now some of you are thinking as you read this, “There is no way I could do all of that.” Or you may be thinking “Some of those things would not work for my family.” Please don’t miss my point. We’re not prescribing nor does the Bible mandate an exact daily formula for discipleship. We’re talking about principles here. Each family is different and discipleship must be tailored to fit the day or the situation. Our routines change as the children get older and God moves us in different directions. Look at Jesus. Every day was different for Him and His disciples. Jesus was constantly “thinking outside the box.” There are a million different ways to design your life so that you are making disciples.
Here is the point: study the way of Jesus and follow it. Learn from the Master and let Him guide your way as you make disciples of your children. Look for teaching opportunities at every moment. But get started today! Discipleship is not something that should wait or is limited to a few hours per week. It’s not something you should leave to others or even the church. It’s a lifestyle as we’ve said. It’s what God has called you to do with your children, from the moment He gives them to you. And, the good news is that if He’s called you to it, He’s equipped your for it. How? Simply follow Him.