When it comes to discipleship at home, engaging in conversations that create space for faith talks and God moments, it can be tempting to formalize it, following the step-by-step guide of a book or instituting certain practices to ensure that faith gets talked about at home. But sometimes those things can bring more frustration than they do formation.
So, where should we start? It’s not as mysterious as you might think—we start where God told us to. I hope the article below, even if you’ve read it before, is an encouragement and a reminder that discipleship at home isn’t a complicated thing—we don’t have to add more to our already full lives; rather, we get to welcome Jesus into the things we are already doing!
The other day I had someone say to me, “I love reading your blog and I like your thoughts on discipleship at home but I don’t even know how to get started. I don’t think of those things like you do. Where do I start?”
It’s a good question and one that I have heard expressed many times before. Understanding of the need for faith formation at home is often overshadowed by fears of implementation. Combining a heart that desires to grow faith at home with intentional actions created to draw children into the “mystery” of the faith is a dynamic duo for discipleship at home.
In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, God tells the community of Israel to “impress” His commands on the children and provides four times in which to do that: When you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you rise, and when you lie down. These everyday and honestly, quite mundane, moments are when the Lord invites us to have faith-forming moments with the younger generations. In fact, it’s these simple and uncomplicated moments that offer the most powerful and effective opportunities to connect with Christ and grow our faith.
If this is a new arena for your family or families in your church, I encourage us to start with these four small but powerful “baby steps” that begin to shift the focus of the home towards Christ.
1. Morning Prayer/Blessing
One of the everyday moments mentioned in Deuteronomy is “when you rise.” Mornings can often be rushed, crazy times as everyone is trying to get shoes tied, hair brushed, coffee guzzled and breakfast consumed. In the middle of it all, take just 30 seconds to stop with each child and pray a simple blessing like, “Lord, be with Grace today. May she know that you are with her, that you love her and that you have called her by name and may she return home full of joy and wisdom.” We will be setting the tone for the day with those simple words and reminding our children just how much they are loved by us and by God.
2. Dinner Discussions
Another time God encourages us to engage with our faith is “when you sit at home.” It’s rare to have families in a place where they all sit down together, but sometimes dinner still gives us that opportunity. To center our conversation during those nights, our family asked four questions: What was your high today? What was your low? What mistake did you make? Where did you see God today?
We had more “teachable moments” at dinner than we could have ever imagined. Sometimes we only get two questions in before we begin discussing something related to our faith, God, family or church. And what’s great is that everyone gets to participate.
3. Drive Time
God tells parents to share with their kids as they “walk along the road.” This doesn’t happen as much as it did but we do drive along the road an awful lot. If you have to travel frequently, might I suggest downloading or purchasing some Adventures in Odessey programs from Focus on the Family? These radio dramas provide a great platform for discussion with kids and they will love listening to them. (You will too—they’re pretty great!)