Parents don’t disciple their child because the parents were not discipled by their parents. There was a point in Christianity when parents no longer taught their children how to live out the Christian life and be a follower of Christ and took that responsibility and handed it off to the church. Sunday School teachers, youth pastors, the parenting role discipling their child was relinquished to the church. Over the many years this idea of “I disciple my child” has almost disappeared.
Picture discipleship of your child like carrying an umbrella. Your child is under your umbrella of discipleship, it is your responsibility. At some point that umbrella was handed off to the church and not taken back by parents.
The roles have switched.
We now have “Church disciples my child and I will try to support the church in this process.”
What we need to have is “I disciple my child and the church supports me in this process.”
Who taught you how to study the Bible?
Who taught you how to pray?
Who taught you how to share your faith?
Who taught you the importance of being connected in the church?
Who taught you how to serve and give generously?
Most of us would answer, “I learned that at church.”
The result is we don’t know how to teach the habits of discipleship to our children and we have become church dependent. That cycle needs to be broken. Parents have to make the decision that they will hold onto the responsibility of discipling their child, take back the umbrella. It’s easy to start when they are young, a little difficult or awkward perhaps to start as our kids are older.
And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9
So how do we as parents break the cycle? We put the above verses into action in our homes.
Commit – All in, 100%, live life as a Christ follower.
Repeat – We teach our children what we have learned.
Communicate – This is what scares most parents of teens. Have conversations about faith in daily life at the house, driving the mini van.
Start and End – Start and end the day with your kids focused on God. So maybe that’s a prayer with them in the morning and then read some scripture at night and a prayer before bed. Incorporate faith into daily life. Make faith the fabric of your home.
Make it visible – Look for ways to have scripture around your house that can be seen as reminders of our faith in God as a family.
So much can be done in discipling our kids and bringing that responsibility back home. With the list above what is a way you can start today in your family with your kids?