Ask yourself this: “As a parent, do I desire the most exciting, joy-filled, satisfying life there is for my child?” Being a parent of 3 small children I would have to resoundingly say, “Of course!” My guess is you would say the same. What decent parent wouldn’t want that for his/her child? The two questions then that we have to wrestle with are “What does a truly exciting, joy-filled, and satisfying life look like for my child?” and secondly, “When I discover that answer, how do I help my child obtain that life?”
The Bible definitely answers the first question. Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst” (John 4:14). At Mercy Hill, we believe that the most exciting life that our kids can live is a life lived for Jesus. It’s our desire as parents to help our kids understand that they don’t need to run off and join a biker gang one day or party like a rock star to find out that Jesus is the only One who can actually satisfy our heart’s deepest longings.
Parents must recognize, however, that possessing this desire does not automatically translate to action. Desiring that your child walk with Jesus from an early age is step one in developing a holistic culture in your home where true biblical discipleship takes place.
Deuteronomy 6 says this to parents: “5You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Notice what this is not. This is not a checklist that God is giving to Israelite parents for how to raise godly children. Completing this list will not automatically produce children who pray for 6 hours a day and obey every word you say. Instead, God is laying out a series of habits that parents are to implement in order to drive the love and commandments of God deep down into the fabric of the family.
Parents, you don’t need a spiritual checklist to post on the fridge – save the checklist for your child’s chores. Instead, what are needed to see your child embrace the exciting life of following Jesus are healthy biblical habits that create a lasting culture of discipleship.
Our kids ministry has created a resource called The Parents Guide to Discipleship. It is a tool that is meant to help you develop healthy habits for family discipleship. As you think about the various facets of the Christian life, we hope to provide suggestions, resources, and a guide to find what fits best for leading your family in each of those areas.
The guide includes gospel-centered resources for equipping parents and for creating a healthy family devotional life. It has suggestions for how to develop meaningful prayer time and for how your family can create opportunities to serve together. It outlines methods for establishing a culture of community and generosity.
The Bible says that every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17). This most certainly includes our children. It’s our prayer that you will steward well the gift of children as you take this exciting step of discipleship.
Copies of our Family Discipleship Guide are available each week in the lobby of our kids space…and they’re free!
-Jeremy Dager (Aged-based Ministries Pastor)