Intentional Discipleship

Last week Jason and I discussed why we need to be intentional parents.  This week I am going to give you my thoughts on intentional discipleship of our kids.  I want to begin by defining discipleship as I see it described in God’s Word.

  1. Discipleship is voluntary (Matthew 4: 18-22 & Luke 5:11) – Why do I begin here?  Because choosing to follow Jesus is a decision that each individual must make on his or her own.  As parents, we are instructed to teach and train our kids in the way of the Lord but, ultimately, it is a choice that they make as to whether or not to become a Disciple.  In fact, in Luke 18, we see a rich young ruler who was invited to follow Christ and chose not to because it would cost him too much.  Inviting our kids to become followers of Christ and having them agree to that is a vital first step in discipleship.
  2. Discipleship involves total immersion of two lives – This is why parents are the primary disciple makers of their kids.  I say “primary” because others can be helpful in this process but it is parents who are uniquely equipped and charged with discipleship.  We know our kids more intimately than anyone else.  Our kids know us more intimately than anyone outside of our family.  As we look at how Jesus himself discipled 12 young men we see that their lives were totally immersed with one another.  They ate together, slept together and ministered together.  The disciples sat at Jesus’ feet and watched him live his life.  They not only heard him teach, they saw him live out what he was teaching.
  3. Discipleship requires an “all-in” mentality – What do you hope and pray for more than anything else for your kids?  Is it success?  Is it a good education?  Is it a great marriage?  Our primary goal as parents needs to be raising a disciple (follower) of Jesus Christ.  All that other stuff is secondary.  That not only needs to be our “stated” goal, it also needs to be what our kids pick up on from us in how we behave and how we react to situations that arise throughout their lives.  That is the one thing that has eternal implications.
  4. Discipleship is as much about listening as it is teaching – Sometimes life is hard.  Sometimes things are not fair.  Sometimes we need to be available to just listen to our kids and really hear what is on their minds and in their hearts.  Always having an answer or a fix for their problems or questions can be frustrating to them and make them feel as if we just don’t get them.  Knowing the inner thoughts and questions of our kids only comes from spending as much time listening to them as we do talking.  Only then, when they feel as if we get them, are we given the opportunity to speak into that space.  Filling that space with the Truth – God’s Truth.
  5. Discipleship involves other partnerships – Partnering with your church and with the leaders of your student ministry team can be an incredibly effective tool.  However, as I stated before, the Church is not the primary Disciple maker, we (parents) are.  Dropping our kids off once or twice a week at church for the leaders to speak into their lives can be very helpful in their spiritual development.  But, the instruction and teaching they receive there needs to be reinforced and expanded on in our homes.  Strong relationships with other families and relatives is another partnership that can help us disciple our kids (assuming those relationships are with other Christ-followers).
  6. Discipleship involves Teaching and Training – There is some tremendous curriculum available to parents today that can help with this.  One effective tool can be a simple one page a day devotional that parents can do with their kids.  This time of teaching and training should include prayer, reading, discussing and resolving to implement the lessons learned.  Reading the Bible and praying with your child is by far the most important thing we can do with them.

I would love to hear from you!  How are you discipling your kids?  What ideas and thoughts do you have on discipleship?  What is some curriculum that you use?  Let’s learn from one another and share our ideas and thoughts.  Be sure to check out our resources page for some ideas on books and devotionals.