How do you make discipleship a natural way of life?
Whether it’s the younger years, the middle years, or the launching years, discipleship can easily be woven into the natural rhythms of family life. It can start with simple questions about the beauty around you in creation or reading Bible stories at bedtime. You can discuss right choices or natural consequences of bad choices. You can talk about school and life through a biblical lens. You can do a book study with your teens, host a backyard Bible club this summer for your elementary-age neighborhood kids, or read Bible stories to your little ones. It does not have to be hard or complicated, but it does have to be intentional. Talk with your children when you wake, when you walk, and when you wind down to sleep (see Deuteronomy 6). So that pretty much means disciple your kids all throughout your days. Do not leave it up to the church. They are there to partner with parents not replace biblical teaching in the home.
In order to disciple your children, you want to open the doors of communication so it is regular and natural and you will want to lead by example. If you are new here, I describe the stages of childhood as the younger years, the middle years, and the launching years and the stages of adulthood as the adult years and the golden years. I try to keep each blog post as a short read and vary my topics often. Below are some suggestions for discipling your children through the years.
When talking about plants and animals, talk about God and creation. Talk about God’s love. Read Bible story books together. Pray together regularly. Use a “put off/put on” chart or concept to teach what God detests and what he values. Serve others together. Click for more on the younger years.
Talk about school subjects through a Biblical worldview. Ask thinking questions. Discuss sermons as a family. Celebrate spiritual birthdays. Let them pick a devotional book or a Bible reading plan. Look for a mentor. Talk about right choices and better choices next time. Talk about themes in books, movies, or music and how they relate to the gospel. Give appropriate consequences. Model Christian disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, and worship. Serve together. Click here for more about the middle years.
Encourage independent Bible reading and Bible study. If appropriate encourage students to mentor a younger student or lead a Bible study. Discuss life choices, extracurricular activities, careers, and future study through a biblical lens. Regularly pray together. Look for churches when you look for colleges. Send your student on an impact trip. Read a book and discuss it. Serve together at church. Click here to learn more about the launching years.
How to disciple a rebellious child: pray hard and pray often. Continue to ask hard and easy questions. Continue to speak truth and love. Continue to parent with patience, respect, and grace. Continue to establish God as the authority in life. Keep the doors of communication open.
The best way to discipline your kids is to model spiritual disciplines and a gospel-centered life. Lead by example. Get yourself a mentor. Mentor someone (consider going through Do You Believe? together).
Continue to lead your family and grandchildren by example. Serve together. Celebrate God’s goodness and tell examples of His faithfulness. Psalm 145:10-12 Pray often and pray hard.
Here’s a link to a parenting book list with helpful books to disciple your children and others.
Table Talk: Who discipled you growing up? How do you incorporate discipleship into everyday life?