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  • Writer's pictureDarrell Stetler II

How to Get Started Discipling Your Kids: The Disciple-Making Parent

HEY: You're a disciple-making parent.

Yes, you.

You might not view it that way -- yet. But that needs to change.

I'll explain below.

What does it mean to disciple my kids?

To disciple your kids means to teach, train, and guide them in their spiritual growth and development. As a parent, you have the responsibility of nurturing your children's faith and helping them to grow in their understanding and relationship with God. You can't leave it to chance, or to the church, or to Adventures in Odyssey. :)

Discipling your kids involves teaching them about God's love, His character, and His plan for their lives, as well as modeling a life of faith for them to follow. Discipling your kids also includes helping them to develop:

  • habits of prayer

  • habits of Bible reading and memorization

  • habits of church & family worship

  • and providing opportunities for them to serve and share their faith with others.

Ultimately, the goal of discipling your kids is to help them become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ... literal copies of Jesus.

This series is going to help. I'm going to share FOUR KEY STEPS that you can use to disciple your children:

  • Step 1: Change Your Mindset On Discipling Children

  • Step 2: Develop Your Plan For Family Discipleship

  • Step 3: Build Your Routine for Family Discipleship

  • Step 4: Grind It Out On Family Discipleship

Let's roll!

Step 1: Change Your Mindset on Discipling Children.

You are a disciple-making parent!

I actually do believe that. You need to view yourself:

  • Not as a failure

  • Not as barely struggling through

  • Not as a victim of a hostile culture

  • Not as someone who "always blows it"

Instead, you need to view yourself as someone who imperfectly but consistently, takes action to train your kids to love Jesus.

Here are two ways to change that mindset:

1. Get discipleship in front of your eyes: in a place where you'll remember it.

Quick: If you HAD to make sure to bring something with you tomorrow morning to work, and it was simply NOT AN OPTION to forget it... where would you put it?

Most people say: "In front of the door."

Exactly! Put it somewhere that you simply can't move without running into it.

Write down somewhere on a post-it-note, "I disciple my kids to know and imitate Jesus," and post it where you can see it. I literally have these post-it notes up in my closet, where I see them each time I open my closet in the mornings. I take a moment and read them. Did it this morning, in fact. :)

Everyone wants to jump right into "Tell me the 3 things I have to do to fix my kids, and make them instant microwave disciples."

But that isn't how it works. You can't start by "fixing your kids."

You need to start by believing that this is what you do every day, regardless of how they're acting. Otherwise, the greatest kids discipleship plan that I can create won't do you a bit of good.

2. Take a small action toward being a disciple-making parent.

The gap between where you are and where you'd like to be is measured in 3 things:

  • Beliefs you own

  • Knowledge you integrate

  • Actions over time

But if you don't BELIEVE it yet, one of the greatest things to do is ask this: "What would a person who was a disciple-making parent, do about it, right now?"

You see, take a small action toward discipling your children, and your brain starts telling you, "I am the kind of person who takes action on discipling my kids."

So what action can you take?

Action Points For discipling your kids:

If you haven't started, it's a good time to

That's it. Shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to get started on that. But it's significant... for this reason:

It means that "I'm the kind of person who takes action on discipling my kids."

Sure, that might seem small. But...

There's an incredible story of the beginning of the rebuilding of the Temple after the Jews returned from Exile. They're beat down, discouraged, don't have all the tools and supplies they'd love to have, and they're starting small.

It doesn't look glorious. It looks kinda sad, honestly.

But there's an incredible verse in the middle of that story:

"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Zechariah 4:10 (NLT)

Isn't that incredible? Some people (maybe including your own mind) tend to mock or despise the tiny beginnings.

But what does GOD think when he sees you start small with discipling your kids?

Don't miss this:

  • No stones have been laid yet.

  • No gold has been overlaid yet.

  • No worship has taken place in the new Temple yet.

  • No sacrifices have been offered yet.

But the Lord rejoices when he sees someone picking up the tools.

Now, go. Get some education on how to start discipling your family.

Expert Advice on how to start discipling your kids:

Dr. Matt Friedeman is the author of Discipleship In the Home, a great little book on a strategy for family discipleship.

This book was born in Dr. Friedeman’s own home, as the father of six, and in the classroom, as professor of Christian Education at Wesley Biblical Seminary. It is a wonderful blend of practical wisdom built on a firm Biblical foundation.

  • ​How to create a family discipleship routine using a powerful family catechism for the dining room table

  • ​Exactly what simple steps you need to take in order to begin teaching your children (or grandchildren!) to love Jesus more.

  • ​How to help your children to memorize Scripture

  • ​How to get and maintain laser-focus on the most important things for your family

  • How to plan a ​meaningful father/son or mother/daughter retreat and rites of passage celebrations.

To help you, I want to offer you a free audiobook on how to disciple children.

NewStart Discipleship produced this resource with Dr. Friedeman's permission.

If you want a 1 hour practical discussion on how you can get started with discipling your children, check out this interview with Dr. Friedeman:

In the next post, I'll be sharing STEP TWO of how to start discipling your children.

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