Home Discipleship 101: Time For Dads to Step Up

Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

 

Clearly this calls for dads to be spiritual leaders for their children. If we are going to disciple the children living in our homes, dads have to step up and be the leaders God calls them to be. Whether the children in your home are yours or not is irrelevant. As the father figure in the house, you need to step up.

 

You can’t lead where you are not going. Dads, if you are going to disciple the kids living in your home, you need to be sure that you are going where you say you want them to go. Do you want them to pray? Are YOU praying? Do you want them to read their Bibles often? Are YOU reading your Bible often? Want them to study the Bible? Are YOU studying the Bible?

 

Be more than an example. Ensuring that you are doing what you want your kids to do is a good start. There is great power in them SEEING you pray, or read, or study, but it can’t end there. Do these things WITH your kids. Intentional has become a bit of a catch phrase in ministry, but in this case it is the right word. We need to be intentional about how you lead your kids. It doesn’t have to be a series of fancy family devotionals. It can be a simple as reading the Bible with them and praying with them. However, family devotionals are a great way to disciple your kids. The good news is you don’t have to write them yourself. There are many books out there that can help you with this. In fact your pastor or children’s or youth minister can probably help you find one.

 

Just do something. I have this problem. I am a perfectionist. Unfortunately, this sometimes prevents me from starting new things waiting for all the pieces to be in place and perfect. As parents we can feel the same way about discipling our kids. But, we need to just start somewhere.


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Home Discipleship 101: Deuteronomy 6:4-9

For many in ministry, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is a well-known passage. Some even go so far as to say that this passage speaks AGAINST children’s ministry. Obviously, I am not one of those or I would not be doing children’s ministry. However, what is clear is that this passage provides an outline for discipling kids at home.

 

When you sit in your house. I’ve talked about using TV to teach your children, but that is not the only opportunity to disciple the children that live with you, while you’re at home. Look for opportunities to teach them. Talk with them about what God is revealing to you during your quiet time. Aren’t taking a quiet time on a regular basis? You really should be. Remember you can’t lead someone where you have not been or are not going. “When you sit in your home” can be meal times. It can be while watching TV. It can be pretty much anytime that you are in the house together.

 

When you walk along the road. Obviously at the time this was written cars did not exist and chariots were mainly machines of war. So, the modern day equivalent would be while your driving along the road. Do, you take your kids to school? Do you pick them up from school? This is a great time to talk about their day and look for the cues in that conversation that can lead to talk of spiritual matters.

 

But, I don’t know what to say. In the beginning having such conversations can be uncomfortable. Where do you start? What do you say? My recommendation would be to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your words. Trust me, He will. And, the more you listen to Him the easier it will become. But, if you’re looking for a place to start the conversation, think about what the preacher preached the past Sunday. OR ask them what their Sunday School or children’s church lesson was about. Use these points as a starting point for the discussion. When you sit in church or in your Sunday School class think about what is being taught and how you might discuss it with you children. Take some notes, if you need to.

 

The bottom line is to make Spiritual discussions a regular part of your daily lives, not just a special event or even a certain time during the day. Jesus used ordinary things and everyday moments to teach and so should we.


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Home Discipleship 101: Pray FOR Your Children

This may seem like a no brainer, but if we are honest, most of us would have to admit that we don’t spend as much time in prayer as we would like. This would mean that we are also not praying for our kids as much as we should.

 

Set aside a time. We schedule many things in our lives. We make appointments for our hair or nails. We schedule phone calls. But, do we schedule time to talk to God? Do we set aside time to pray to the creator of the universe on behalf of our children. The Bible tells us that Jesus intercedes for us in heaven with God the Father (1). If Jesus does this for us shouldn’t we also do it for our children?

 

Ask them what they need. Tell your child that you will be praying for them today and ask if there is anything that you could be praying about for them. When you first start this you may be greeted with a blank stare. When they do speak it may start as rather generic requests. It may be simple things like the math test they have that day. But, as you continue this habit you may be surprised what you learn. This simply action may give you a glimpse into what your child is thinking, what they are feeling, what they are going through. This may give you a window into things that they may not share otherwise.

 

Share the answers. If YOU receive an answer to a prayer request that has come from your child, then share it with them. God answers prayers. It is important that we celebrate this with our children. Through this our children can learn to pray, trusting that God will answer.

 

Footnotes

  1. Hebrews 7:25

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HD101: Pray With Them At Night

Last week we talked about praying over the kids in your home in the morning. Today we want to look at closing the day with prayer.

 

My kids are 13 and 6. I have tucked them in at night since they were born. My 13 year old son still looks forward to it. If we take too long he will call out, asking if we are coming. One thing that I have not done well at is praying with them during this time. What better thing can we start and end our days with than prayer.

 

Why? It’s important that we model prayer for our kids. Praying over them in the morning helps them to see the importance of starting our days with prayer. Praying with them at night shows them the importance of ending our days with prayer. But, it also helps us to model what prayer looks like. The prayer we pray over them in the morning is a blessing. However, when we pray with them at night we are wide open to pray for whatever is on our minds.

 

Let them pray. If you have younger kids, then they may not be comfortable praying out loud. But, you might be surprised. I have been very surprised at how willing some kids are to pray, even in front of their peers. So, when you sit down to pray with your child. Encourage them to pray too. Take turns. You start, then encourage your child to finish, or the other way around.

 

Meaningful and relevant. Repetitive, memorized prayers are great for preschoolers or even for new Christians of any age. They help someone who’s not be comfortable with prayer learn. But, when we pray with them at night be sure to make the prayers more than that. Pray about things that are going on in your lives. Pray about things that matter to you. Pray about things that matter to your them.

 

Get real. We want our kids to talk about and pray about things that they are struggling with. This night time prayer is a good time for them to share. But, you may have to model it for them. Certainly there are things that we, as parents and adults, don’t need to share with our kids, but outside of that we need to be real with them. Help them learn how to pray about life difficulties by showing them.
This post is part of a series designed to help anyone that is raising children learn how to disciple those children. Check the Home Discipleship 101 button on the home page for links to all of the posts in this series.

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HD101: The Great Commission Part 3

As we continue our look at the great commission our next piece is “of all nations”. This obviously talks about taking the gospel throughout the world. However, it also talks about sharing the message of Christ right where you are. After all, how can we take the message to all nations if we don’t have it here. Who will take the message to all nations in the next generation if we don’t share it with them now?

 

If we are not careful we, as the church, can become so focused on taking the Gospel to “all nations” that we forget to take it to America. I think it is the root of some of the problem we are experiencing in America today.

 

Death of the Gospel in America. The truth is that Christianity, or any other movement, is only ever one generation from extinction in a given country. The way that we keep that from happening is by sharing the Gospel with the next generation. This includes the kids in your home.

 

Who will take it to all nations? Imagine if we stopped teaching our kids about God, the Bible, or sharing the Gospel with them. If this happened, then when the current generation of missionaries was gone, who would be left to take the Gospel to all nations?

 

It’s bigger than us. The truth is that God does not need us to spread His message. BUT, he has chosen us. We, the church, are the vehicle He has decided to use to bring the Gospel to the world. This being true, we need to do all we can to share it. We are not all called to be missionaries to foreign countries. But, we are all called to be part of taking the Gospel to all nations. For now your part may simply be to train up the children that live with you. We never know how God may choose to use them in the future.

This post is part of a series designed to help anyone that is raising children learn how to disciple those children. Check the Home Discipleship 101 button on the home page for links to all of the posts in this series.

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