The task of training up our children in the way of the Lord is no easy thing. That is why it must be a rhythm, a lifestyle, and not dependent on a schedule.
Summer can cause our efforts to disciple our children to feel a bit haphazard if we don’t have routine in place. Fall is a great time to start that routine, so that when next Summer comes, the Gospel is written on our hands, and foreheads, and doorposts, and gates. It becomes a rhythm of our life, like eating and sleeping and breathing. Something that will be present no matter what happens to the schedule.
Deuteronomy 11: 18-20 “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates…”
Here are a few things that Darrell and I have found helpful in discipling our boys:
- Short Devotionals Morning and Night
It is so beneficial to start the day with breakfast. I would never send my boys to school without feeding their body. Likewise, I feel like I should never let them encounter all the temptations of the day without feeding their spirit as well. The Bible describes itself as spiritual food—water, milk, bread, meat. We use the devotional Long Story Short that corresponds to our Sunday School curriculum. With 5 daily Bible readings per week, it takes about one bowl of Cheerios to finish, or about 10 minutes, and you’ve fed their body and their heart at the same time.
At night, nothing soothes the mind, calms anxiety, chases away fear, or relieves stress in my boys like focusing on God’s promises and His character.
Family discipleship is about using the rhythm of your family’s life to talk about, think about and practice the gospel.
For Dawson, who is 7, we are reading The Ology. It’s a systematic theology written for kids—and you. I promise, it will increase your knowledge of God and intensify your worship. You’ll love it as much as your child does. I read one lesson to Dawson every night. He usually begs for two.
For Jackson, who is 12, Darrell reads the New City Catechism Devotional. There are 52 questions and answers with a short commentary and prayer. We are on our third time through it with Jackson. It never gets old.
- We attend the 9:00 Worship Service Together as a Family
This has not always been pretty, y’all. Honestly, there have been some threats, some tears, lots of dropped crayons, some naps. One time, after the announcements, I looked over and saw that Dawson didn't have any shoes. Like none. But there was also the time Jackson asked, “Why do you receive Communion and I don’t?” That was the beginning of our conversations that led to his repentance and profession of faith in Christ. Where else are your children going to hear the Church praise God with one voice, see you lift your hands in exaltation, hear you thank Jesus for his sacrifice as you bow your head before you receive the bread and wine? Don’t think that the only thing valuable to say to a five year old is what they can grasp. Make them stretch. Make them wonder. God is God over a five year old brain, too. Biblical substance feeds your children. Sunday School is great, but corporate worship is ordained by God. Our children should be participants in it.
Family discipleship is about using the rhythm of your family’s life to talk about, think about and practice the gospel. It will look different for your family than it does for mine, but our goal should be the same…to make disciples who make disciples. We want God to be glorified for generations to come.
He is like a tree planted by water that sends out roots by the stream, and does not fear when the heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:8
Sally faithfully and joyfully serves as our Grace Kids Director.
This blog corresponds to Grace Church's sermon from this past Sunday on family discipleship. Click here to watch or listen!