10 things you should know about family discipleship (part 1)

“As we celebrate Children’s Day on 02 Oct, may we take the time to remind ourselves that the best gift for our children is a nurturing spiritual environment. May the article shared over these 2 Sundays, give us 10 perspectives which can equip and encourage us.” ~Ps Daniel Tan

10 things you should know about family discipleship

August 17, 2020 by Adam Griffin

This article is part of the 10 Things You Should Know series.

1. Family discipleship is part of the Great Commission.

In Matthew 28, the resurrected Jesus Christ, standing on top of a mountain with nail marks in his hands, tells his followers to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19). We call this the Great Commission — the summary of all that the Christian church is supposed to be committed to until Christ returns. In the call to make disciples everywhere and to teach Christ’s commandments entirely, we can be absolutely sure that this imperative includes those disciples we will make in our own homes. You cannot call yourself a follower of Christ if you are committed to making disciples in your neighbourhood, but not around your kitchen table. The spiritual leadership of your home is your job, commissioned by God, and it would be a dreadful dereliction of duty to overlook it.

2. Family discipleship is important.

It should be enough to say that family discipleship is important because God commands it and he deserves our worship, but even important assignments often lose out in the competition of necessary things that plead for our attention. Family discipleship is a vital component of what it means to be a Christian parent, and it stands above other parenting responsibilities. Parenting is full of significant tasks. From housing,

clothing, and feeding to affection, play, and education, there are innumerable essential aspects to being a mum or dad. But what good will it do our kids if they have every “thing” they need, but they do not know their Saviour? What good is an education in math and science if they cannot make a moral choice nor have any reasoning behind why it is important? What good is a family home if they do not know Jesus who has gone to prepare an eternal place for those who follow him? Discipling your family is indispensable for every aspect of your child’s life as well as for the life to come — and it far outweighs all the rest of your responsibilities.

3. Good family discipleship is mostly ordinary.

Just because it is important does not mean that times of family discipleship will need to be the highlight of every day. Family discipleship, at its best, is an ordinary part of your family’s normal rhythm. The spiritual leadership of your home can — and should — take place in such a smooth and natural way that it is often unremarkable. Leveraging the moments in which your family already interacts on a regular basis throughout the day to talk about the commands of God and to live them out makes following Christ routine.

4. Raising righteously abnormal kids is a counterintuitive and vital component of family discipleship.

In an increasingly secular culture, it is likewise increasingly critical to equip Christian kids with the audacity it will take to be countercultural. Today’s children need to not only be taught what is true but how to distinguish it from what is false and how to boldly stand up against a torrent of opinions to the contrary. While my parenting instincts tempt me toward raising a child who is broadly admired, the call of God on my life is to raise a family that is ready to be hated for following Christ. It takes intentionality to raise a generation that is valiant enough to be righteously abnormal.

5. Family discipleship does not make you responsible for the salvation of your kids.

Preach your guts out, read the Bible every day — all day — and still, you could not force your children to follow Christ any more than you could force God to save them. Your child’s salvation is never a credit to perfect parenting. Likewise, you should not beat yourself up if your child runs from God despite your best efforts. It is just as true for your child as it is for you that “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8–9). It is a blessing, therefore, knowing that God could save us even without our own efforts, and despite our mistakes that he still invites mums and dads to be part of how he disciples and saves a new generation of followers.

(To be continued next week.)