8 Tips to Help You Disciple Your Kids
My oldest son, Joshua, took up soccer this past spring and will continue this fall. My wife and I have really enjoyed watching him play, and even as a beginner at the age of 12, he seems like he has the temperament, body frame, and ability to develop the necessary skills to be a solid player. I’m looking forward to seeing how he progresses this season which begins in a few weeks. But as much as I am enjoying Joshua playing soccer, there is something that frustrates me about it as well.
I can’t help him.
When I was a kid, I played baseball and football. That was it. Spring and summer was baseball season and fall and winter was football season. There was no time for other sports like basketball or soccer; why would you even play them if you can play baseball or football instead? So I know nothing about soccer. (I learned about off-sides just a few months ago when Joshua learned about it!) And that is where my frustration comes in. I want to help Joshua. I want to encourage him. I want to spend time in our backyard helping him develop his skills. But I just don’t know the game well enough to do any of that. I want to. I see the need to. But I don’t have what it takes to do it. So I just tell him to listen to his coaches and do what they say.
Feeling Lost as Disciple-Makers
I think that is how many parents feel when it comes to discipling our kids. We know that we should disciple our kids—it is one of our primary ministries as parents (Deut. 6:4-9)—and we want to, but when it comes to actually doing it, we feel lost. Where do we begin? What do we say? Do I really know enough myself? And so, because of our overwhelming feeling of inadequacy, we tell our kids to listen to their leaders at church and do what they say.
This is understandable, but it doesn’t have to be this way. It can’t be this way. Discipling our kids is far too important to hand off to others—as godly and loving as they may be. And that takes us back to our primary concern—we know we need to disciple our kids and we want to do it, but how do we actually do it? Here are eight tips to help you disciple your kids:
1. Set realistic expectations.
One of the main problems we have as parents is that we expect way too much of ourselves when it comes to discipling our kids, and when we can’t live up to them, we feel like failures and often quit. Family worship doesn’t have to look like worship with your church family with singing, prayer, and lengthy and in-depth Bible teaching. Gospel conversations don’t always have to end with some profound theological gem from you. We need to be realistic of what our family discipleship will look like. Perhaps that means talking about a Bible story for 15 minutes one night a week at dinner and trying to find one or two times each week to move conversations toward the gospel. Wherever you are, start there and develop rhythms and habits that work and then build on them to get to where you want to be.
More to come in the following weeks.