What do you want your children to look like when they are grown? Do you desire for them to be focused on success, materialism, and entertainment? Or do you want them to be living in communion with God and raising your grandchildren to live for the Lord as well? That takes discipleship!
Research has shown that parents ARE the PRIMARY influence of their children, NOT friends or school or even social media. That is encouraging isn’t it? If we are the primary influence, then let’s show that we are! What better encouragement to lead our kids closer in their relationship with Jesus?
With the busyness of the school year, however, it is easy for us to get distracted from our most important role as parents: discipling our children. Here are some ways to disciple your kids amidst the busyness of the school year…
It is our God given responsibility to “train (our children) up in the way they should go, so when they are old, they will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
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1. PRACTICE DEVOTIONAL TIME
There are many great ways to make devotional time a part of your family. Here are a few ideas…
Picture Bible Devotions: If your kids are young or new to the faith, I would encourage you to start with a picture Bible as your family devotional. We read through several so our kids had a strong foundation in God’s Word and could see the bigger picture of the Bible and how it all fits together. Here is a list of preschool picture Bibles and elementary-aged picture Bibles.
Family Devotionals: As our kids grew older, we have branched out into family devotionals. Family devotionals are great to read over a meal or before bed. Here is a list of great family devotionals with reviews on my website!
Girls/Boys Devotionals: My son enjoys doing a boys devotional with my husband, and my daughter and I do a girls devotional a couple times a week. See my reviews in the links to pick one that you think your kids would enjoy!
Personal Time with God: More recently I have been wanting to teach our children how to spend time with God on their own and learn to apply scripture and hear from God personally. I created Quiet Time with God as a tool to guide them. Once a week we pick a few scripture verses to read and each individually fill out the devotional by quietly spending time with God and letting Him speak to our hearts. When we are finished, we discuss our answers and then usually do something fun as a family afterword. My kids can then do this during the week as part of their quiet time with God. Boys devotionals and girls devotionals are also great tools to encourage our children to spend time connecting with God on their own each day.
2. ASK SPIRITUAL QUESTIONS
Questions are a great way to get kids thinking and coming up with their own ideas without “telling them what to do.”
We recently made a family discipleship plan with the help of Covenant Heirs’ Making A Spiritual Discipleship Plan (highly recommend this tool). Part of this plan was to develop our family mission statement which centers around loving God and loving others. To encourage us to keep these two focusses at the forefront of our minds, we often ask over dinner “How have you shown that you love God today?” and/or “How did you show love to others today?” Another good question is “How did you see God working today?” Questions like these help us stay focused on what really matters and encourage our kids to look for ways to prioritize God throughout the day.
3. PRAY WITH AND FOR YOUR KIDS
I love the book The Power of a Praying Parent and have used the prayer topics to give me ideas to pray for my kids each day!
Praying with the kids is a great way to model what prayer can look like and teach our kids to prioritize prayer. Pray with them before they go to bed, when they are nervous for a test, when you are thankful, and encourage them to talk to God throughout the day. Try making a family prayer list you keep in eye site to remind your family to pray each day. This is such a simple yet effective way to encourage your kids to have a relationship with God.
In our busy lives, it is easy to neglect church due to extracurricular activities and weekend outings, but I want to encourage you to pray about your commitment to the body of Christ. If your kids don’t see you going to church consistently, what makes you think they will go consistently when they grow up? Our actions have even more of an influence than our words. If church is never seen as an optional activity, your children will learn to value it and put God first, plus they will receive encouragement to grow in their faith from friends and adult teachers/mentors as well.
5. Serving Together
Finding ways to intentionally show the love of Jesus to others is a great way to disciple our children. In fact, it is what Jesus spent most of His time doing with His disciples! Pray as a family about who you can show God’s love to in words and actions, and set aside time as a family to serve those God puts on your heart. Think of ways that you can show God’s love to others when you are out and about, like passing out tracts, asking how you can pray for people, or simply telling them how much Jesus loves them are easy ways to share God’s love wherever you go!
Discipling our kids is not an option if we are serious about putting God first in our lives. It is part of our calling and one of our greatest privileges as parents! I encourage you to pray and ask God to show you creative ideas to foster your kids’ excitement for the Lord and desire to follow in His ways. What a legacy we will leave as we focus on God and His plans for our lives and the lives of our children.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 19:11, NIV)