The other day I had someone say to me, “I love reading your blog and I like your thoughts on discipleship in the 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. Acknowledgment of the need for faith formation at home is often overshadowed by fears of implementation.
- How do you “see God in the everyday”?
- How do you begin to prepare for a “faith talk”?
- What in the world does it mean to “speak a blessing” over your kids?
Add to that the overwhelming sense of existential dread at the very thought of adding one more thing to an already full schedule and it’s at this point though that it is tempting to say, “Forget it. The kids will just have to get the Jesus stuff at church.” And that kind of thinking leads to a relinquishing of our unique responsibility to raise our children in the faith as well as a willingness to overlook the very real fact that parents, not ministers, have the greatest influence on their child’s faith whether they are intentional about it or not.
Enter the Gift of Everyday Discipleship
Could it be that when the charge to “impress these things upon your children” was given in Deuteronomy 4, it wasn’t a just call to family devotions? That perhaps what God had in mind was a bit more involved than that? What if instead of adding another thing to our calendar, we sought for ways to intentionally invite Christ into what we are already doing? What if instead of saying, “There’s no time to do more” we started saying “We are going to let God do more with our time.”
In that famous Deuteronomy passage, there are four discipleship moments mentioned: Getting up in the morning, going to bed at night, sitting down at home, and leaving the home (along the road). Throughout the world, these things happen every. single. day. We all wake up, we all sleep, we all sit, we all go.
I find it so interesting that these are the times that God said, “Talk to your kids about Me.”
The most ordinary, normative moments of the day become extraordinary moments to disciple our kids in the faith.
So, back to that original question of “How do we do everyday discipleship at home?” By simply inviting Christ into your calendar, into each moment, into each activity. It starts with just one comment, one reflection, one pause to turn our focus from the temporal to the eternal.
If this is a new arena for your family or those you serve, I encourage you to start with these four small but powerful “baby steps” that begin to shift the focus of the home towards Christ.
In Deut 6:4-9, God tells parents to “impress” his commands on the children and provides four times in which to do that. One of those times 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.
This prayer doesn’t have to be long or eloquent. In fact, simple is good; it’s easy to remember and repeat daily. Something 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.”
Another time God encourages us to engage with our kids is “when you sit.” 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 asks four questions: What was your high today? What was your low? What mistake did you make? Where did you see God today?