Wednesday, June 12, 2013

parenting as discipleship


(rejoicing on the last day of school)

In the throes of summer we have nothing but time, or at least that is how it appears. And as a mother, I can’t really ask for more. More time with my kids, more time together, more intentional moments.

Although my goal is to always be leading my kids towards Jesus, I find myself overjoyed at the extra time I have for it now that school is out. Around here it is prime disciple making season. Unless you’re a homeschooling family-then it’s always disciple making season.

But we aren’t, at least right now, and I am finding my days filled with numerous teaching moments. 

When it comes to making disciples I can’t help but get away from these two thoughts: it should happen at home first, and my kids have to be top priority. I know that Jesus calls all of his followers to make disciples. That’s just how it is, and it’s a mandate that we cannot ignore as Christ followers. But I believe it should be married with command given by God in Deuteronomy to teach our children and raise them up in the ways of the Lord.

The church, as a whole, has a lot to say about discipleship. This process of bringing new Christ followers closer to God and walking alongside them as they grow in the Lord is essential to the growth of the church, and something we know was of vital importance to the mission Jesus gave his followers. But the church, as a whole, doesn’t really have much to say about what to do in our own homes as far as discipleship goes. Of course parenting is spoken of lots, and there are gobs of books and resources on that. But it seems that there is a disconnect between parenting and discipleship. At least it appears that way to me. But it’s clear that there is certainly a need for some teaching on parenting as discipleship, as research indicates that a number of children fall away, or “drop out” from their faith as they transition to adults. I wonder at that, and I wonder if we can change it. 

As parents we have a tremendous opportunity, don’t we? We are literally shaping the next generation. And if we don’t intentionally shape them toward Jesus we leave them on their own by default. That is a scary thought. 

But I also wonder, how does the tired mom of many (or even three) pour out into other disciple relationships without neglecting her own kids? Because the church, as a whole, seems to push us all towards this thing-having a discipling relationship with a younger believer and mentoring this way. But often I feel like that can cause us to overlook our children. Moms and dads really only have so much time in the day. And that simple fact begs us to be purposeful about how we spend it. I believe the Lord will hold us accountable for the time we spend with our kids. I know that childrearing is a season, and once they are gone I will be free to disciple others more. But I won’t get this time back. If I’m too busy in church programs, can I adequately lead my kids? If I’m too busy leading others, can I actually make disciples of my kids? 

I don’t have all the answers, but as the summer has rolled in I find myself thinking about these things a lot. Right now, all that I can conclude is that I need to spend my efforts and energy at home, with the three disciples he gave me. And I'd welcome your thoughts on the topic!

(And yes, this does seem to be a reoccurring thing. I’ve talked about this before.)




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