Screen Shot 2019-03-19 at 9.00.10 AMKids don’t come with a manual. This means we’ll frequently wonder if we are “doing it right” in our attempts to raise and train them. We often wrestle with questions like:

  • Are we spending too much time and money on youth sports?
  • Is my style of discipline appropriate? What if it’s not working?
  • Our family doesn’t look as impressive as **that family** on Instagram – are we doing something wrong?
  • My kids know about Jesus, but how do I help them actually know and love Him?

These are all valid questions and concerns. Christian authors, bloggers, and publishers are happy to take our money and load us with guilt about what we should or shouldn’t be doing. At Parkside Bible Church, we try to keep Family Discipleship simple and trust the grace of God to cover our shortcomings. Here are 5 essential elements of Family Discipleship.

5 Essential Elements of Family Discipleship

1. Parents Need to Lead

God has called parents to lead and disciple their kids. We live in an age of professionalism where it’s easy to export this training to pastors, school teachers, or others that feel more qualified. The commands of Deuteronomy 6 are directed specifically to parents. This theme is echoed throughout all of Scripture. The church most definitely assists, equips, and labors with parents in this effort, but the heavy lifting must be done by parents.

How We Do It: Our Family Discipleship Guide has weekly devotionals for parents. The content of these devotionals is built for the upcoming Sunday instruction. Therefore, the parents take the lead in teaching and discipling within a support network of the body of Christ. Additionally, we have numerous resources we make available on a regular basis for the training and equipping of parents in this role.

2. The Whole Bible Points to Jesus

The Bible isn’t just a book of stories. It’s one grand story about Jesus. The Bible isn’t a compilation of heroes to be like. It’s about the one true hero, Jesus. The Bible isn’t just about rules to keep. It’s about the One who kept all the rules because we didn’t. The Bible isn’t about me and what I must do, but about Jesus and what He has done. This core truth is essential for Family Discipleship.

How We Do It: The Jesus Storybook Bible is a great children’s Bible that helps connect every Bible story to Jesus. If you don’t own one, we stock these in the bookstore.

3. Scripture Memory

Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Do you want your kids to live a holy life that is marked by God’s grace? Do you want that for yourself? Memorize Scripture with your kids. If the Psalmist needed Scripture memory to help him walk in holiness, don’t you? Don’t your kids? Be sure to check out the links in the singing section on how to combine music with Scripture memory.

How We Do It: Our Family Discipleship Guide has Scripture memory that coordinates with teaching on Sundays and devotionals throughout the week. We also distribute placemats with a space to write out that week’s verse at every meal.

4. Theology Is Essential

One of my favorite Bible teachers, Jen Wilkin, says “The heart cannot love what the mind does now know.” We want our kids to know and love simple truths like “Jesus Loves Me” as well as deep truths like why Jesus had to be truly man and truly God. Kids love this – they will rise, or fall, to the level of our expectations of them.

How We Do ItOur Family Discipleship Guide also includes a catechism question of the week that focuses on core theological truths. Catechism has a deep history in Protestant churches to instruct our people with a simple Q & A format. If it still feels a bit Catholic for you, check out this article on the Protestant history of catechism.

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5. Singing Makes It Stick

Do you spend more time humming a tune or re-enacting your Pastor’s sermon from last Sunday? If you said the latter, you can ask God’s forgiveness for your lie, we won’t judge you. Music helps words stick in our brain in profound ways. Because of this, we seek to teach and disciple our kids through song whenever possible.

How We Do ItThis quarter’s Family Discipleship Guide includes the song, “He Will Hold Me Fast” which will be introduced in corporate worship soon. For additional songs, see this album for nursery/pre-school kids and this album for elementary kids.

This is the fifth article in a series on how Parkside Bible Church (Brownsburg, IN) views Family Ministry. Be sure to check out the prior articles, “Kids: Acorns or Oak Trees?“, “3 Barriers to Your Kids Loving Jesus“, “The Power of Story“, and “Motions Make It Memorable.

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