So, Tuesday I shared some of the thoughts in my head, bouncing around (I am sure there is lots of open space for such thoughts to bounce….)
What does discipleship really look like?
How do we “do” it?
To whom do we disciple?
Many of these thoughts came from reading Radical by David Platt.
While reading that book, I have listened to a few great podcasts too like :
The underlying theme in all these places has been that it is not about God saving us to Save Us – it is about saving us so that we can live our lives glorifying HIM. I just love this. It is not about us. Never was. Never will be. Wow. I love this!
But it is about passing this on, teaching those coming along behind us, and just imagine if they get it at age 10, or 9, or even 7 – imagine them getting that it is bigger than themselves!? How could that, rather – WOULD THAT revolutionize the world??? A generation growing up KNOWING it is not about them, their bank accounts, their comfort, their “happiness”!! Wow.
So how do we do that?
Well to continue on with how we are trying to do our best by passing this on, teaching this daily, and living it out – this is what we do:
1. Talking– we talk about it at the table. We talk about these concepts, we talk about the Bible and how it teaches it. We talk about why we volunteer at the food pantry.
I am going to take jumbo popsicle/craft sticks and make them cute, then write names of all those on our Christmas card list and nearby families who we will pray for daily. We did this last year in December and January, this year. the kids have been asking why we stopped. So, that is a project I need to get on and get it back on our kitchen table. When we pray for them we usually talk about how we know them, how they have been a part of our lives, passing on the legacy of our friends and family.
When we pray for others, we are lifting them up to the God who loves them and us. We are teaching our kids to think about others and put their needs before our Savoir, even if it is just a blanket, please bless them.
3. Reading – We read many books together, but we try to choose specific books that teach. We love biographies and I have gotten J and P both into reading the YWAM Books which are biographies of historical figures or Missionaries.
They have read too many to list, but if you are looking for some fabulous read alouds, or books for your kids ages 9 and up to read these are amazing!!
4. Service – my boys have started volunteering at the local Food Shelter weekly. They are absolutely loving it! My oldest told me how he just feels so good helping there, and I told him that is because God blesses us when we serve.
Robert has been able to join them the past two weeks and that has been so good for him too. They are really offering their work in exchange for nothing, no pay, no benefits – just the satisfaction of serving. I love that they are getting to do this and that they WANT to do it. They are learning that it is not about them – they are giving up their play time here to go and serve, and they are asking each week to do it. I feel that this is another way we are training them up to be young men who give back, to the church and community. Not to mention the valuable time they get from being with so many Godly men and women who run (this particular food shelter), and the wisdom they are sharing with my boys. This is such a win/win for me – I am loving it!!
5. Church – Finally, we feel our involvement with our local church is vital to discipleship. We do not profess to be there every time the doors are open, in fact we have chosen to stay home during weekly events during certain seasons of our lives. When our children were young, we opted not to wake them from afternoon naps on Sunday to rush up to AWANA. That was a person choice we made. I guarantee my kids did not miss out on a few years of stories and puppets.
We do make Sunday attendance a given – we attend as a family unless someone is sick, and then we divide and conquer, a parent stays home with the sick one, and a parent takes the rest for worship. Sunday School is something we believe in very strongly. And Wednesday night Children’s Activities are also something we believe in. Whether it is children’s choir, Bible Drill or something else. I believe that my children can get something out of each of these things as well as offer their input.
We believe in corporate worship too. It took a few years for us to figure out what that looks like for our family, but at this point it means our children attend worship with us from about 5 and a half up. In the past some churches we have attended offered Children’s Church through 5th grade, but we have opted to worship as a family. Does this always look pretty? No, hardly. Some weeks we have tears for being corrected, bored looks on faces, and often one boy struggles to stay awake. But they are learning as they sit with us what REAL church looks like. They are learning why we tithe and how, and also how we can serve others through our prayers and our actions. Most often, you will see Bibles open, and even thought our youngest may not look like he hears what is being preached, as he looks up favorite verses in his Bible, but he can almost always tell me what Pastor Nathan preached on.
My children are learning why the church is important and the role they play, and what they have to offer from watching us live it each week.
Once again, I will say, we have not mastered any of this. These are simply ways we are intentionally training and discipling our children. Ways we are teaching them what the scripture had taught us. We still get angry when they mess up, we still mess up with what we are going at times. However, when I stand back and look at my kids, I can see they are getting it, little by little. It has taken lots of hard work though, lots of time and lots and lots of patience. It is much harder to sit with my boys and remind them every few minutes how they should act, than to let them sit somewhere else and not bother me. And it would be much easier to let the m go to a more “entertaining” program like Children’s Church until they are much older – at least, easier in the short term, but harder in the long run.
I still feel that discipleship begins at home, with our most vulnerable disciples who are longing for the time, attention, and love we show them when we spend the energy to come along side them and teach them, through our daily lives.