God gave us family and church as bodies of people to belong to; to live life with, for support, comfort, protection and teaching. These are the main environments in which disciple making can and should take place.
Children may be in church activities for 1-5 hours each week and this has a huge opportunity to impact them. However this is only a few hours in their 168 hour week. In their home however, after you take away time for sleep, school and play, they can still have 20-40 hours of inter-relational everyday-life teaching opportunities. If we consider the family as the primary environment for disciple making then churches and youth ministries must work to equip parents and partner with them as they disciple their children.
The family has always been God’s privileged choice, as Deuteronomy 6 clearly indicates, as the best place for children and youth to be nurtured, discipled and mentored in their faith.
Deuteronomy 6: 7 commands families:
You shall teach them [the commands of the Lord] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when lie down and when you rise. (ESV)
This passage emphasises the day to day routines and ordinary-ness of the parent’s role in this disciple making process. The focus of this command is on the parents as role models and the parents as daily teachers who regularly speak of God. Sadly this key role is often delegated to the church family. Many parents let the best, natural disciple making moments slip by. This has led to an increased emphasis of responsibility placed on youth leaders.
As youth leaders we need to partner with parents! Here are 7 key questions you should be asking about how you can serve parents as disciple makers.
Parents are the largest role models in children’s lives. Christian parents have a huge weight of responsibility to; “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22: 6 (NKJV) Put simply, a parent’s most important task is to raise children who will be followers of Christ.
Resources and Tools for Parents
EYMN ‘Dreams Group’ considered the kinds of special family moments that they enjoyed as parents or children, they came up with a list of 31 simple activities which will help strengthen family bonds. Receive a free copy of this helpful calendar and links to other helpful resources here!