“Dos and Don'ts” of Family Discipleship

Guest Post Mark Gouge

Once one has taken on the responsibility of family discipleship, implementing it can be overwhelming. Where do I start? family-discipleship What tools do I use? Is there a right or wrong way to do this? Below is a list of some practical “do’s and don’ts” that will help lay a foundation for consistency. The Do’s:
  1. Pray-Pray for your family each day. Beg God for rich practical wisdom to lead your family (James 1:5).
  2. Be Intentional-Family discipleship has to be more than an afterthought.  We are deliberate with our family business and family budget. Why is that family discipleship rarely captures our full attention and effort? It is vital that we pray over and give specific thought to it each day.
  3. Use the moments of life-Use everyday events, the up’s and the down’s of life, to teach your children biblical principles. For example, as you drive and see a beautiful sunrise, talk about the great Creator and His much-needed new mercies that day (Deut. 6:40; Psalm 78:5-8)!
  4. Make it engaging and age-appropriate-You know your kids interests. Sing with them.  There are interactive apps and videos for your smartphones and tablets that work well as supplements. Act out the bible stories with the entire family. This can be very entertaining! For preschoolers, make a key phrase and hand motions to recall the story. For early elementary, ask questions to help build their listening and thinking skills. Help your older kids develop a journal and allow them to see yours.
  5. Make the Word of God the focal point-Make a big deal about the Word. Talk about your quiet time and what your discipleship group is studying. Refer back to what your Pastor spoke about in the latest church service. Use a reading plan and memorize verses with your children (Deut. 6:4-9, Col. 3:16).
  6. Utilize the tools your church is using-Take advantage of the tools your church ministries have. The children’s and education ministry will have links and tools that will guide you in reading and memorizing scripture.
The Don’ts:
  1. Don’t preach for forty-five minutes from Leviticus 14-There will be a time and place for studying the meat of the Word, but in the early stages of discipleship with your children, focus on Jesus, having a love for the Word, memorizing God’s word, and prayer (Josh. 1:8; Ps. 119:11; 1 Thess. 5:17).
  2. Don’t try every new devotional that comes out-It’s easy to get swept up in the newest, greatest tool. Although there are good tools available, once you’ve prayed about and started one, stick with it.
  3. Don’t keep it a secret-Tell other families you have started family discipleship. You may be able to motivate others to start in their homes and you may find others who are already doing it.
  4. Don’t leave it to someone else-We, as parents, are the primary faith builders in our families, not the pastors and volunteers at the church. The church and school programs are designed to assist and supplement what we should be doing at home.
  5. Don’t put the wrong pressure on your kids-As you go through Bible stories, help them understand the characters were normal humans and sinners like us that God chose to use. Help your family embrace God’s plan for them and obey His commandments. Guide them to set aside time in the Word each day. Along with this, don’t force your child to say a prayer of salvation, which may result in false security. This may also cause them serious doubts later in life. In your time of discipleship, always point them to repentance in faith.
While this is not an exhaustive list, it is a great list of helps to incorporate and eliminate. Blessings as you invest in your at-home D-groups! Are there any do’s or don’ts you would add to the list?