I heardÂ sermons on discipleship today and last Sunday.Â Discipleship has become a very big emphasis at my church,Â but with all the emphasis on discipleship, a particularÂ component has been strangely lacking: theÂ discipleship ofÂ our children.
I’m feeling more and more strongly about this all the time.Â It’s an often unspoken assumption that parents disciple their children, that a child’s spiritual formation begins at home.Â But I’m beginning to think more and more that although its assumed we do it, very few of us parents actually set aside a specific time each week to spend one on one time with our children to read the Bible and talk together about what it says.Â I think that its far too easy in the midst of our very busy lives to not schedule time with our kids and when we don’t have time to do it, we think to ourselves, “They have Sunday school and youth group; its ok if I didn’t have time this week.”Â And as that becomes a pattern, we don’t even give a thought to discipling our kids, and we believe they’re covered by what they get in church.
I think we’ve been lulled into believing a lie.Â That our children don’t need us to disciple them because there are programs that cover that.Â I had a big wake-up call a couple of weeks ago, which I posted about, when I had an ‘M-study’ with my 5 1/2 year old.Â We spent 45 minutes reading the Bible and talking and he wasn’t even getting bored.Â It is so very important to disciple our children.Â I need to take seriously what it says in Deuteronomy 6: “6And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. 7Repeat them again and again to your children (italics mine). Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.”
I think one of the roadblocks people encounter when it comes to discipleship is that they themselves have never been discipled and so don’t feel qualified to disciple someone else.Â Â Maybe a person has not been discipled but don’t let our children say the same thing when they become adults.Â I hope my kids will be able to say that their parents discipled them and so they don’t have to feel intimidated to disciple someone else.Â The other roadblocks to discipleship (time, fear, etc.) should be the easiest to overcome when discipling our own children.Â Â This should be the least scary form of discipleship becauseÂ we already have a relationship with our children; we live in the same house so we should be able to find time somewhere; we may not feel qualified, but how many of us feel qualified to parent and yet we do it anyway, trusting God to give us the wisdom we need to raise our kids up in His ways.
Lastly, if we disciple a number of people throughout our lifetimes, but didn’t disciple our own children, haven’t we missed the most important part?