Everyday my son comes home from school and we make sure that he does his home work. If he needs help we help him. When special projects come up we partner with him to make sure they get done. This scene happens in countless homes across America. Add to this parents coaching, or at least watching, their children’s sports teams, plus scouts, and a long list of other activities and it is clear that most parents are invested in the activities of their children. Yet we struggle in the church to get parents plugged in to the discipleship of their children. The same parents that will spend hours helping their kids with school work, or coaching their team, or helping with their scout troop will spend little, if any, time teaching their kids the lessons that bible would have them learn. Now understand that I see the value in these other activities, but do any of them even come close to the value of God’s word? This seems like a no brainer, but our lives say something different. Now, as I come down on parents a little, please understand that I am guilty of this myself. I would love to say that I am doing a great job of discipling my children, but that would not be true. I struggle just like the rest of you.
Discipleship of children is a hot topic these days. Churches struggle with how to give parents the tools they need to disciple their children and get them to use them. Yet many of these same parents are deeply involved in the other many activities I mentioned earlier. Now I understand that in many cases schools also struggle to get parental involvement. I understand that of the many kids on a given sports team only a handful of them have parents that are helping with coaching or in other ways. However, I would wager that the percentage of parents that are actively involved in discipling their children is even smaller.
With all this in mind, it just seems to me that discipleship should be easier. It seems like there should be less of a struggle getting parents invested in the spiritual health and maturity of their children. I would love to say that I have the answer, that I had the one thing that would speak to all parents and suddenly get them excited about this, but that would be a lie. I don’t know what the answer is any more then you do. But, there is one thing that my pastor keeps telling me that applies here as well. He often reminds me that I can’t expect people to do what I am not doing myself; I can’t expect people to follow me where I have not been.
So, here is my challenge to myself and to you as well. If you are a children’s worker and have children then I challenge you to lead the way and focus on discipling your children first. If you already do this, then share with me what your routines are. If you are, like me just starting an intentional discipleship plan for your children’, then let me know what your first steps will be. Meanwhile, stay tuned as I embark on the journey to disciple my children and from there to encourage and empower the other parents in my church to do the same.
My first step: Prayer. Today I commit to pray with my children and to set an example of the importance of prayer. If you are following along, then let this be your commitment as well. Today is Wednesday. I will report back on Friday and let you know how this is going so far and what I am doing to make prayer a regular part of our lives.
Oh, and in case you are wondering yes that is my real family in the pic.