A 2003 Barna Research Group conducted a nationwide research on ministry to children and found the majority of Christian parents believe they’re responsible for their child’s spiritual development, but only few of them do something about it. Research also concluded that “parents typically have no plan for the spiritual development of their children; do not consider it a priority, have little or no training in how to nurture a child’s faith, have no related standards or goals that they are seeking to satisfy, and experience no accountability for their efforts.” Sadly, not much has changed in the past 16 years.
Ponder this passage, Deuteronomy 6:6-7. “These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” This is the simplest way to begin discipleship in your home. Simply coming together and talking and showing that your faith and family are a priority.
Where better to start than at the dinner table. If you don’t already eat dinner together as a family, I encourage you start. Start this while your children are still very young. Rule number one – no devices. That goes for parents as well. Dinner is a great time to take a pause. Be a family, even in the car eating drive through on the way to soccer practice. Dinner together is dinner together so don’t stress if it’s not around the kitchen table at a certain time.
After you pray for your meal, ask your children some simple questions. “What was the best part of your day?”, “What was the worst part of your day?”, “Where did you see God at work?” and here’s a big one, “What mistakes did you make today?” It’s important for children to see that parents make mistakes too. If you’re able to admit your mistakes, they will be more likely to admit theirs. It’s a great opportunity to discuss God’s forgiveness and grace. These questions will give you a start to great conversations with your kids. This sounds so simple but this will lay the foundation for creating a special family time every day. As your children grow, the conversations will get deeper, you as a parent will feel more confident, and the memories formed will last a lifetime.
If you’re really ready to take the plunge you could consider starting a discipleship group with your kids! The D-Group Starter Guide will help you get things rolling!
Pastors, equip your church members to disciple their kids and develop every other aspect of your discipleship ministry by checking out the Replicate Network.