Wednesday, August 28, 2013

making a plan to disciple our kids

As we get ready to slip into the school year I find myself a little overcome. Overcome with emotions for how God has continually met us a family. And overcome with feelings of wow as I wonder how he’ll continue to meet us. Because I know he will.

If you’re new around here you should know that we Christ followers. And if you’re not new then you know that already; thank you for always being faithful to read along. Even when the posts are few and far between or completely full of blabbering. (I blame those on hormones.)

But something you may not realize is that God has been challenging us a family lately. A lot. He’s been reminding us of the standard he set that parents are to disciple their own children. As youth pastors we spend a lot of time pouring our lives into other kids, and that’s good-it really is. But we are recognizing the need for us to pour into and lead our own children. God has been clearly showing us this over and over and over again. The requirement he has in his word is that parents raise up their children in the ways of the Lord. 

Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 makes it clear: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (emphasis added)

The standard is that parents begin their ministry work at home, with their own brood. 

And so we have used this summer intentionally. We have tried, sometimes with great success and sometimes with great resistance, to seize on teachable moments and to engage in a deeper way with our kids. In short, we are working to really raise them up to know and love Jesus and be involved in his great story in their lives. 

But this is hard work, my friends. Often as parents, we leave the church to do such teaching. But we neglect to realize that the church gets just 40 hours a year to teach our children and we as parents get over 3000. Sounds to me like God has given us ample time to teach our own children.

Despite that, we often don’t. We cite lack of time or knowledge for this, and honestly those both are probably true. 

As we skid from summer to fall I’m acutely aware that our time with our kids will decrease dramatically. And so I know that I need to get really intentional in how we spend time with our kids so that we can seize on every opportunity that God gives us to teach them. 

This doesn’t mean we keep flannel graphs on hand, ready to engage in a Jesus story at all times. This doesn’t mean we neglect other family and friends in our attempts to teach our children. This doesn’t even mean we have church at home all the time. 

What it does mean is that we carve out daily time to purposefully engage with our kids. It means we say no to some extra curricular activities so we can have dinner together as a family. It even means that we say no to some church activities so we can build something together. And I’ll be perfectly honest when I say that this is tough stuff. It’s hard. And sometimes it feels like it flies contrary to everything around us. 

But we know that the narrow path is what is best for us. 

One of the easiest for us to do this is to build it into our natural rhythm. Every family has one, a place where meal times and quiet times fall in place. We seize on those, rather than fight to add more into what is often a full schedule.

I’ll be unpacking this a bit more later, but for now I’ll leave you with the encouragement that you can indeed do this. And though it takes work, it’s not impossible. God gave you your children after all, so he’s already fully equipped you for the work ahead. 

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