Parents, You Are The Primary Discipler, Now What? (Part 1)
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV)
Yup, if you are a parent or a primary care-giver, you have been called by God to teacher your kids about Him everyday, every moment, in everything you do. That seems daunting, right? Over the next few blogs, I hope to break down the above verse into small, manageable parts so that the idea of discipling kids isn’t so overwhelming with the hope that as we intentionally disciple our kids, it will become second nature - something that we do as we sit and walk and lie down and rise and text and drive to soccer practice and grocery shop and play video games…
So here are three ways to start being that primary discipler:
1. Talk to your kids daily about God.
Pick one time during the day when you will consistently - or as consistently as possible with crazy schedules - talk to your kids about God. This could be at breakfast or dinner or before bed. Just pick one and make it a routine.
One way that family devotionals have been consistent for us as a family is that we do them as we finish our meal…notice I said “as we finish” our meal. The reason we do our devotionals as we finish is to help bridge that age gap span between our 4 kids who are 7-12. They are all in different places emotionally, physically and spiritually so everyone is still “present” during each conversation if they are eating and sitting still even if the conversation takes a more mature turn for our 10 year old son. And to be honest, it also helps me - mom - not be rushing to move on to clean up dishes and get ready for bed, which I was always tempted to do when we did devotionals at the end of the meal.
2. Decide what you are going to say.
For most of us this seems easy in theory but in reality it is really daunting. Questions like what book in the Bible should I read to my kids first or what devotional should I use or do I need to explain the Trinity first or how do I explain reformed theology to my 4 year-old can make the task seem overwhelming. My advice - just start somewhere.
Over the course of parenting for the last 12 years, my family has started and stopped numerous family devotionals. We have read through proverbs, then the Jesus Storybook Bible, and made it through the first quarter of The Long Story Short probably 3 times. We have used the family devotionals provided by Redeemer Kids, The New City Catechism and even done season devotionals. And we start each with good intentions but sometimes they don’t work for the stage of life our kids are in (we have four spanning from 7-12) or for our schedule.
This might sound like we aren’t very “devoted” to devotionals but the reason I shared that is to say it is simply important to make it a priority, even if the devotional you pick doesn’t work long term. If you make it a regular rhythm in your home, then your kids will begin to expect it to happen and they will grow as disciples in their love of God and the Gospel!
3. Pray for your kids and pray with your kids.
God is sovereign over His relationship with your kids and with you and you get to be the agent that the Holy Spirit uses to teach your kid about Him. How amazing is that! So spend time in prayer asking God to give you the words to speak to your kids and then model this prayer with your kids so that they grow up praying as well.
And help your kids learn to pray corporately by attending Redeemer’s dinner and prayer night. This will not only help you grow in your prayer life by seeing how the Holy Spirit is prompting others to pray, but it will help kids see that this is an amazing thing - not something weird that only your family does at dinner or at bedtime. Your whole family will get to experience being part of the family of Redeemer and petitioning God together.
I pray that as all of us seek to be the primary disciple makers in our homes that we would experience the amazing power of the Gospel more completely and we would fall more in love with our Savior so that we can pass on these affections to our kids.