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I love Lisa’s perspective on family discipleship. There is one very critical element in discipling our kids and without it, we will be ineffective. Make sure you don’t miss this one! Be sure to read the original Discipleship Corner Post, ‘7 Keys to Effective Family Discipleship! ~ Amber
Family Discipleship is something that used to confuse me. I mean I knew it mattered, but I honestly had no clue what it meant or how to bring it alive in our home. I pictured sweet moments with worship music gently playing in the background and kids eagerly gathered around Daddy as he read the Word. We tried to make that happen, but it just didn’t work.
WHAT IS EFFECTIVE FAMILY DISCIPLESHIP?
So I began to look at what discipleship is, instead of modeling it after the current cultural trends.
I knew we could find what worked for us. I began to pray, read the Bible, and think about my own experiences.
My husband and I prayed together for God to show us how to institute effective family discipleship in our home. We began to see that it was less about a process and more about a harvest; our hearts became passionate for our kids in a whole new way.
I realized looking back at my own life that I had been blessed to be intentionally discipled during a couple of different seasons in my life, and that mostly the women who had done this for me just lived life with me and talked to me about Jesus.
They modeled what a walk with God looked like for me, and it was seeing their faith in action that really spurred me on. And then they opened up the Word and made it come alive.
As I read through the Gospels and looked at how Jesus was with His disciples, it was much the same.
They did life together, and as they spent time alongside Him, He brought the words of Scripture alive for them.
That became my heart’s cry as a mom, and my husband’s desire as the head of our home and their Father. We knew that if we wanted to model effective family discipleship in our home, the best example was Jesus Himself.
WHAT’S THE FIRST STEP FOR EFFECTIVE FAMILY DISCIPLESHIP?
The first thing we noticed as we read about Jesus with the express purpose of learning how to disciple our family was that He was intentional about His time with God.
He fasted, He prayed, He went to the synagogue, and He made sure He was in a place of constant communion with His Father.
That meant we needed to do the same. We needed to have our own quiet times established, so that we could teach our children to do the same.
That seemed daunting at first, until we once again realized there was no perfect formula and we could do what worked for us with our schedule and our life.
As the Word of God became more of a priority in my life, I began to see a lot of changes in my heart.
Household chores that were once annoying, simply became a way to serve my family and be a good steward over what God had provided. Toddler temper tantrums became training grounds for character building (in both them and me). Walks up and down the street became times to marvel at the beauty God had created.
Without even realizing it, I was discipling my children because I was so in love with God that it began to bubble over into every part of my life.
I still remember the first time my daughter articulated the difference.
I heard her praying in her room, “Dear Jesus, thank you for a mommy that likes being with me.” In that instant, my heart (and eyes) were flooded. I cried and realized that joy had not always been a part of my motherhood journey. And now all of the sudden as I understood God’s great delight in me as His daughter, I had great delight in my children.
This was when family discipleship began to really take root in our home.
TOOLS FOR EFFECTIVE FAMILY DISCIPLESHIP
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Over the years, our family time has changed with seasons, ages of our children, and the amount of kids we have.
But one thing remains steady: we intentionally seek God ourselves, so that we can plant the seeds of the Gospel in the hearts of our children.
We know, without any shadow of doubt, that He is faithful to bring a harvest from those seeds because He says so in His Word (Proverbs 22:6; Isaiah 55:11).
Sometimes it has been as simple as reading out of (affiliate) The Jesus Storybook Bible and working on memorizing one simple verse as a family.
Other times we’ve followed a devotional guide (our most amazing experience with this has been (affiliate) Our 24 Family Ways by Clay and Sally Clarkson).
Still other seasons, we’ve just read through the Gospels one short ‘story’ at a time. And then we talked about it with our kids.
At Christmas, we read through The Jesse Tree.
We’ve learned that it matters less what you do, and more how you do it.
The most critical tools for effective family discipleship are prayer, love, and consistency.
Sweet mama, pray for your children. Pray for their hearts, their futures, their dreams, their callings. Ask God to help you love them well and serve them with joy. Pray for patience and grace and love and delight to soak every interaction you have with them, day in and day out.
Love them well. Don’t just love them because they are your babies but love them as your sisters and brothers in Christ.
And be consistent. If they see you prioritize God regularly, they will learn to do the same from watching you.
Lisa Yvonne blogs at http://www.GracefulAbandon.com to encourage women to live grace-soaked lives while juggling the demands of being a wife and mom. Her heart is for family discipleship, thriving marriages, and equipping women to delight in the lives they are living. Lisa has been married to her best friend for 16 years and together they are raising a family with 8 children.