Family discipleship is something that has been modeled for us since the beginning of mankind. Starting with Adam and Eve, God put the roles of men, husbands, fathers, women, wives, mothers, and children into course. He has given each one specific roles that would aid in showing His compassionate love and desires for His people.
Although the world does not embrace a biblical approach to family discipleship, for the Christian family, it is important to allow God to work through the lines of authority that He has established.
What is Family Discipleship?
Why is family discipleship important?
It is important for Christian families to understand discipleship for many reasons. For starters, it puts authority in proper alignment. When a family operates under appropriate authority, they understand that Christ comes first, then the husband, the wife, and then the children. Today’s society would rather have men be passive, women usurping their leadership, and children not being respectful to their parents (or other adults).
Second, family discipleship shines the light on the need for Jesus, the Savior. Seeking and pursuing His ways within the family unit is a must, and there is truly no better example to follow than Jesus Himself. This can pose as a challenge, especially when our flesh tries to get in the way; however, as we’ll discuss later, there are ways to make it a priority in your family.
Last but not least, family discipleship is important because it becomes a testimony to others, especially non-believers. When others see your family walking out the Word, God tends to use it as a ministering opportunity. Curiosity may lead people to ask questions and open the door to share both your testimony and faith.
5 Habits to Help Make Family Discipleship a Priority
Reading & Studying the Word
In order to live out the word, and raise children who will do the same, you have to know what it says. The Bible can be viewed as one big instruction manual with little how-to’s that are applicable for today. Designate days and times to read and study the word as a family.
Start with a topical study, invest in a Bible study resource, or begin with reading one book of the Bible at a time. If you have older children, consider meeting with them individually (husbands with sons and wives with daughters).
For the artistic, incorporate Bible journaling!
The idea is to fill your family’s minds and hearts with God’s word and understanding what it means to walk it out. James 1:22 gives a great reminder to not only be listeners of the word, but to also be doers of it, lest we deceive ourselves.
Prayer is a powerful tool that should be in the arsenal of every Christian family. And prayer is our way of communicating with God and helping children connect that part of their relationship with Him. Sometimes it can be difficult for them (and adults) to feel comfortable talking to someone they can’t see, so creating a family prayer time can help ease any worries.
Family prayer time is also a great way to show children how to pray. Start with praying for each family member, then extended family, friends, needs, current events, and so on. Encourage each family member to share a prayer request, and don’t forget to share praise reports to see how prayers were answered.
Worship is another powerful way to foster family discipleship. Worshiping as a family carries a great spiritual significance that can help children catch the desire to worship the Father by seeing their parents do it. Not to mention, using voice, instruments, and dance are highly spoken of as ways to worship God.
Cultivate this precious time in your home by playing worship music while singing and dancing to it. You can make it super fun by inviting your children to use scripture to make up their own songs.
Repentance plays a big role in family discipleship because it deals with acknowledging and turning away from sin. Children have to be taught (and shown) what repentance is with the understanding that it is something we do, not just say. A family that practices true repentance is one that will stand strong in the face of the adversary.
Repentance also highlights the work of the Father in one’s life. It shows our imperfections, and also our ability to make a true change because of God’s fatherly correction and love.
Fellowship with other like-minded believers enhances family discipleship because it fulfills the instructions to:
- Assemble together (Hebrews 10:25).
- Seek wise counsel from church leadership (Hebrew 13:17).
- Men teach younger men (Titus 2:6-8).
- Women teach younger women (Titus 2:3-5).
These examples help reinforce all other tips discussed, but on a corporate level. Families are able to come together and experience bible study, prayer, worship, and repentance in action. Having fellowship also provides accountability beyond the immediate family unit. This is something greatly needed in a Christian’s life.
Making family discipleship a priority for your family will have lasting effects. Think of the generational faith legacy you are creating, and the impacts that will have on your descendants. Keep in mind that you don’t have to strive for perfection to teach your children in the way that they should go. The most important things are to show them Christ and how to follow His example.
How do you foster family discipleship? Share your ideas in the comments below.