Making Disciples at Home
The article below digs deep into Week 2 of a 3-Week Course called Faith Filled Family offered by our Emmaus Institute in January 2020. For a detailed overview of the entire course, please click here.
Week 2 – Family Worship
In this second week of Faith Filled Family, we explore some intentional strategies that we can implement to cultivate hearts of worship within our families. We offer four important habits that can help: family worship, personal devotions, celebrating spiritual milestones, and redeeming moments. Click below to listen to the teaching, or read further for a summary.
Without any question, the Bible places the mantle of making disciples of the next generation very firmly on the shoulders of parents. It is our duty as mothers and fathers to cultivate faithfulness in the hearts of our children that will carry the truth of God forward to their children as well. Three places where we see this in the scriptures.
- Deuteronomy 6:4-8 – This passage teaches us to immerse our homes in God’s home. We are to talk about it, to teach it regularly, and to be careful to cover our homes in its presence.
- Psalm 78:1-8 – Here we see that God has entrusted each generation to pass along the faith to the next generation – sharing the stories, scriptures, and truths of God diligently so that the faith continues through time.
- Joshua 24:14-15 – In this text, Joshua showcases his leadership over his home. His responsibility before God to set priorities for his family on what the family will care about.
With all of these passages serving as our mandate for discipleship in the home, the question for all of us is very simple – how can we be faithful to immerse our homes in the faith? Here, we offer four simple habits that can be practiced that allow us to start down this path of faithful worship in the family.
- Family Worship
One of the best ways to immerse your home in the Word of God is through Family Worship – a time together as an entire family reading the Bible, praying and singing together. We encourage you to practice this daily, setting a habit for your family to become fluent and conversant in the Word of God!
How should you go about leading this time? Keep it simple – 10 minutes max, read a short passage of scripture, ask some questions that help its meaning become clear, allow each family member to pray aloud, and then sing a song together (use YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music to help here). Even if it seems difficult at first, jump in and you will find it to be an incredibly healthy habit for your family. Listen to the audio above for more helpful tips, or click here to read an article on family worship from our Worship Pastor Jeremy Daniels.
- Personal Devotions
Another incredibly important tool for making disciples at home is leading each member of the family to develop a personal, individual habit of spending time daily with God in studying the Bible. When children are young, you will lead them through this moment; as they grow older, your goal is to hand this moment off to them. With your spouse, you cultivate accountability by discussing your own devotional time and asking questions about theirs. The goal is to help equip your family to know how to read and think about the Bible and how to pray and live in response to it!
If you would like to consider some strategies for how to lead young children through this time, we recommend checking out The Bridge Class from our Emmaus Kid’s Ministry. If you would like to explore how to start having this type of devotional time yourself, click here.
Our lives are marked by milestones that serve as “rights-of-passage” as we grow from children to adults. From getting a driver’s license to registering to vote, these moments help us mark these transitions with meaningful milestones that help call us into adulthood and its responsibilities. As parents raising young disciples, it is important to develop spiritual milestones as well – intentional rights-of-passage that will help you call your child into spiritual adulthood.Here are a few ideas:
- Joining “Big Church” – Celebrate a strategic birthday as a marker when your child will begin joining you on Sundays in adult worship rather than kids ministry. Use the moment to explain the importance of congregational worship and the norms (sitting quietly, listening attentively, taking notes, singing, giving, etc).
- Baptism/First Communion – Celebrate your child’s faith in Jesus with church baptism and inviting the child to begin to take communion during worship. Explain the Biblical symbolism of each of these, and allow them to become markers of the child’s salvation.
- First Mission Trip – Celebrate a strategic age by taking a child overseas on a mission trip to serve others. Use the opportunity to explain the importance of sharing the Gospel, serving others, and advancing God’s Kingdom. Use the trip as a strategic week of one-on-one discipleship with them, debriefing daily.
- Celebration of Manhood/Womanhood – Consider an age to strategically celebrate your child becoming an adult (we recommend 13-17). Commemorate the occasion with a milestone moment to give expectations for them spiritually. Consider enlisting older spiritual mentors in their lives during a celebration that allows them to speak into your child.
As parents, each day gives us dozens of small moments that are opportunities to talk about God, his nature, and salvation. As you seek to raise your children, be mindful to take these moments captive to develop a conversational faith in the hearts of your family. Simply look for moments that surprise you in some way (amaze, delight, sadden, scare) and find a way to connect them to God. Make observations and ask questions to help them understand him. Here are a few examples:
- Snowy Day – Explain the wonder of snowflakes – each one is unique, beautifully crafted with incredible design when seen under a microscope (show photo from online). Explain how the Bible tells us that God is our creator, designing everything to show his glory. Pray and thank God for the snow that reminds us of him.
- Passing an Ambulance – Acknowledge that someone may be hurt and on their way to the hospital to get help. Leverage the moment to pray together as a family for the person, asking God to heal them, help the doctors, and bring comfort.
- Storm/Bad Weather – Take the moment to explain that God is our protector, and that his power is stronger than the storms. Remind them of the story from Mark 4:35-41, when Jesus calms a storm with his voice. Pray together, asking God to protect you.
Truly, every mountain you pass and every sunset you see is an opportunity to reflect upon God and his goodness. Learn to talk regularly of God and his nature among your children so they can understand who God is intuitively as they grow and begin to study scripture.
In all of these things – family worship, personal devotions, milestones, and moments – remember the ultimate goal is to help each member of your family have their own walk with Jesus. God has placed us in their lives for a reason – let’s leverage our influence to help them trust Jesus with lifelong vibrant faith!
Continue the journey with Faith Filled Family – Week 3
Jump back to the Faith Filled Family Overview