Around Crosspoint, we talk often about how parents are to make disciples of Jesus at home. I believe as parents, we are prone to often skip over our own kids thinking they will get it by simply living in our homes. The reality is that as parents though, God’s plan A is that we would be the ones to teach our children who God is and what it looks like to follow, trust, love and worship Him. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 makes that really clear. So if we know we are to make disciples, then what does that look like? How do we go about doing that? Here are some practical encouragement and ideas.
Memorize Scripture alongside your children. Start small, set a goal, write it down and keep it front of you both. You could start with this one…Psalm 119:11: I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Read Scripture together. Maybe you do it together at a meal or before school or before bed. Maybe you are reading it separately, but then getting back together to talk about what you’re learning. As you read the Bible, consider this big question…What do the verses that you are reading, teach you about the Lord? What does it teach you about His nature and character? (Here is a great picture of the key attributes of our God. You could use this as a resource to say, where do we see Scripture pointing to these characteristics?) Some good places to start reading would be…one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), Ephesians or Colossians, or 1 John.
Read your Bible on your own. Maybe you have smaller kids, or maybe you’re reading different things. But even if you are, then simply share with your kids, in the flow and rhythm of life (along the road, when you get up, when you lie down), what you’re learning and being encouraged/challenged in. Don’t keep those things to yourself. Tell your kids often of how the Lord is at work in your own heart and life.
Pray together. Don’t just settle for before meals or bedtime. Not that those are bad by any means, but allow prayer into the realm of your entire day. Your child just got home and had a rough day at school? Pray out loud. Your child in college calls home either super excited or stressed or somewhere in between? Pray out loud. You get the idea. Allow your children to hear you pray for them and with them. Allow your children to hear you confess your sin before the Lord, and your love for Jesus, and your trust in Him, and what you’re asking of Him. Children will learn how to talk to their Father in Heaven as they hear you, as the parent, talk to your Father in Heaven.
Go to church together. Set an example for the next generation of the priority of gathering with the family of God on a weekly basis. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Some day your child won’t live at your home, and more than likely live in another community all together. So now, at the age that they are, impress upon them through your way of life the priority of worship, serving, fellowship, and hearing the Word taught in the weekly gathering. And when you leave the gathering, take the time on the way home to have a conversation about how the Lord worked in your life that morning.
Partner with church ministries. This goes along with going to church together. As a church, our desire is to help make disciples of the next generation. We want to encourage parents to be doing it at home, but we see part of our mission is to take any opportunity we have to help children and students know and love Jesus, love one another as a result, and be equipped for His mission in this world. So if you’ve got 7th-12th grade students, encourage them to get to HYPE and be around other students and leaders who love them. If you’ve got younger ones, get them to SonChasers on Sunday mornings.
Tell the why behind what you do. Help your children see how your faith in Christ is changing how you live. As parents, we assume too often that our kids will just ‘get it.’ They won’t. We must teach them. So why do you pray, why do you go to church, why do you serve, why do you work hard, why do you have people to your house for a meal, why do you serve your spouse, why do you attend community group, why do you give generously of money, why do you forgive freely those who have wronged you, why do you not complain about your co-worker, why do you love your enemies, etc. Help show your kids how your faith in Christ is not just changing your Sunday morning schedule, but changing how you live in this world.
Get baptized! Maybe for you, you’ve been following Jesus for years, but have yet to go public with your faith and get baptized. All through Scripture, we see that people celebrate their salvation through the picture of water baptism by immersion. Jesus commissioned us in Matthew 28 to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…” Baptism and communion are two sacraments rooted in the teaching of Jesus and ones that we as the New Testament church are to live out and practice. Maybe you got baptized as an infant before you received Christ, but you have yet to get baptized as an adult following your salvation? Get baptized! Maybe you gave your life to Christ last year or years ago, and for some reason, you’re hesitant to obey the Lord in His call to get baptized. Get baptized! I’d encourage you to see your baptism as not just an opportunity for you to obey the Lord and grow in your faith, but for you to set an example for your children (no matter their age).
Use a catechism to help teach the core truths of Scripture to your children. And take an opportunity to learn alongside them! Do it with them. A catechism is simply a way of summarizing doctrine in memorable and bite size chunks. Here are three great ones. New City Catechism. A Catechism for Boys and Girls. The North Star Catechism.
It is never too early or too late to begin to make disciples at home. Ask the Lord in prayer to help you love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and then to help the next generation to do the same thing. You’re not alone as you make disciples. If you have questions or need help or encouragement, please reach out to a staff member or leader at Crosspoint. We follow Jesus alongside one another!