VBS. Christian camps. Mission trips. From mid-August through May, many churches offer some type of Bible instruction for children either mid-week or on Sunday. Our children have been blessed by all of the above… creative activities, high energy games, yummy food, cool teachers, funny presentations. My guess is that most of us have volunteered in at least one of the ministries I just named…and that’s great! But, what are we doing as parents, at home, as God’s appointed stewards of our children?
Jesus says, “Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28.19, Contemporary English Version)
Our primary disciples are our own children.
Recently, a friend shared that she and her older daughter didn’t really talk much about he Lord. Over the years the daughter had attended plenty of church programs, but my friend wondered what kind of relationship, if any, the daughter had with the Lord. The mom began to pray specifically – for herself , her daughter and this part of their relationship.
A couple of months later her daughter came home from college. The mother initiated, the daughter was receptive and over time this area of their relationship blossomed. Most importantly, the daughter’s relationship with the Lord deepened. Now they share the most important bond with each other – loving Jesus and being comfortable to talk about it.
Several months later this same daughter faced a difficult trial. Her parents and friends supported her, but the daughter had to walk through it. She did not walk alone. She walked with Jesus.
More often we won’t “be there” for our children – the playground, the classroom, the lunchroom, the relationship dramas, the party, the date, the break up, and the tragedies that many of our children are confronted with today. We can love them, pray for them and be their support system.
…but they need their Savior.
To get to know Him and who He can be in their life RIGHT NOW.
God gave them to us to raise – to raise to know Him. He wants to help us disciple our children at various ages and stages. As Jesus built relationships with His disciples, He sought the Father and he prayed often. Jesus knew His disciples (and we) would feel inadequate. He encourages, “And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Luke 11.9-10)
Jesus spent time with His disciples as a group (family) and in more intimate numbers, and He kept it causal. Casual is good – They’re our kids. Go for one on one time – present a Bible story or character and ask a couple of life application type questions…”What would you do…” “Why do you think…” “What does that tell you about God…”
Discipleship is not only for young children! Jesus’ disciples were men. Our preteens and teens are thinking about plenty. Let’s give them some real food for thought. We can share what we are learning in the Word. We need to show them how relevant God’s Word is in our life and tell them how He has helped us. Through sharing how we relate with Jesus, we can teach them how they can. With an enticing food, beverage or setting – plus our undivided attention – our children will listen.
God will do the work in the heart.
It’s not so much what we do or say, but what the Lord is doing through us when we choose to seek and open ourselves to the opportunities to be His instruments.
My kids have me, with all my flaws and weaknesses, and they have their dad with his. But there is only one Constant Companion to perfectly love and lead them.