A Dad’s Role in the Spiritual Formation of His Children

Dads, I want to ask you something. When was the last time you asked your children about Jesus? When was the last time you had a conversation with your children about the nature and character of God? When was the last time you spoke to your children about the season of life you and your family are in, and how that season should ultimately be used to bring God glory?

My goal is not to make us feel bad. I’m a dad too. I have three littles running around our home, and I fail at this quite often. But, in my life, I have witnessed a change in my mentality toward showing my children who Jesus is and what He has accomplished for them and all of humanity. 

Growing up I loved playing catch. As a matter of fact, I still do! I would spend hours outside, or in some cases, inside playing catch with my dad. It eventually got to a point where he would hesitate to play because I would try to take his hand off with a fastball! But still, that time was something that I will never forget. And it’s something that I want to share with my kids as well. 

That same mentality of wanting to pass this simple game of catch on to my kids should be the same mentality of wanting and desiring to share Jesus with them. I should be just as excited to talk about Jesus with my kids as I am to play catch with them in the yard.

Look with me at Proverbs 1:7. The Word says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.” We have been taught at length that everything begins and ends with a healthy fear of God. As fathers, it is our responsibility to pass this on to our children. We pass it along to our children because we have been instructed to do so. 

So you may be asking yourself, “Why? Why do we do this?”

We do this because we first have a healthy fear of who God is and what He alone has accomplished. We have traveled the journey with Christ. We have seen our sinful nature and it has been exposed. Because of this, we have turned our lives over to the One—Jesus—who can make us clean. We have allowed Christ Jesus to forgive our sins and bring us into a relationship with God. 

We all desire wisdom. We want to be wise. We want to know what it is that will bring us closer to our loved ones, what will help us provide for our families, and what will bring us satisfaction and joy. Therefore, we know that God is the only one who can provide us with everything that we need and the overwhelming joy that comes from knowing Him and having a relationship with Him. Because of this, we seek to become wise to his teachings and his ways. And we want to impart that to our children. 

Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” While we lovingly discipline our children, we do so through a biblical lens, because we are attempting to lead them towards Jesus and ultimately a loving relationship with Him. 

Have you ever had one of those moments where you are ready to explode on your kids? Maybe they scribbled on the wall with a marker, spilled something in the car, and chose to repeatedly not listen. (By the way… All of those examples happen regularly in our household). Anger begins to build up inside of us, and we want to explode. The inner being wants to rage against the act that has just happened and we can’t help but unleash everything within us. If you’ve never experienced this type of moment, I want to personally meet you and sit down and chat with you! 

Nevertheless, Paul instructs fathers to do no such thing towards their children here in Ephesians 6:4. Why does he do that? What gives Paul the right to tell us such a thing? He does so because he knows that fathers, mothers, and parents are providing their children with an example to grow up towards and ultimately imitate. He essentially tells parents to set a good example for their children. Tony Merida, the pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, NC says, “What are children learning? They are learning basic Christian living by watching their parents.” 

“What are children learning? They are learning basic Christian living by watching their parents.”

Dr. Tony Merida

The primary place for parents to live out what they believe is in the home. And who is at home? Their children. Our children see how we live and act and how we speak to one another. Merida continues by saying: “Children are observing how their parents value the church. They are watching how their parents are speaking truth lovingly, working honestly, giving generously, encouraging others properly, putting away bitterness and anger repentantly, and forgiving one another Christianly.”

Our children are watching us. They are examining every move we make and every word out of our mouths. They want to see what we will do when they make a wrong move or make a mistake. Are we going to extend our anger and wrath, or are we going to extend grace, while showing and teaching them the ways of the Lord?

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Isn’t this the mother’s job? Isn’t this what moms are supposed to be doing?” I want to encourage you now, to stop viewing parenting and your children through the lens of the American 18 and 1900s. At this age, especially here in America, we saw where the dads went to work, while the moms stayed home to raise the children. Dads would provide for their wife and their children by working, while moms stayed home and raised the children and provided a clean home. 

This model transitioned over to American Christianity as well. At home, the discipling was left to the moms while the dads did their own thing. You may have listened while dad cracked open the bible at night and read it aloud, but it was really mom who was doing all the discipling at home. We saw this within the children and student Sunday school departments throughout this time frame. Think back, if you grew up in church, who was your Sunday school teacher? More than likely it was a female. While there is nothing wrong with this, think about who was absent in the discipling of children? The guys were. 

Now, look at the Scriptures… Do we see this same picture here? Absolutely not! We see a totally different one. We see where dads take up the mantle provided to them by God to lead their families and their children. Within the Old Testament time frame, before Christ, dads had a responsibility that was laid out for them as to all they were responsible for in the spiritual wellbeing of their children. If we look at the New Testament, we see that the responsibility did not end when Christ came, but we are now parenting through a different lens of redemption. 

Dad, please hear me. Don’t outsource the discipleship of your children to someone else. You play a key role in their development—physically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Don’t run from this God-given task of leading your home. Raising your children in the ways of the Lord is not a feminine thing. It’s really the manliest thing you can do. 

It all comes down to a dad’s relationship with Christ before it comes to leading their children. When you begin to see your children through the lens of Jesus, we will see them as people who one need Jesus, and two, they need to be discipled in His ways. In our reflection time for this session, we are looking at our own relationship with Christ. 

So, I want to ask you: What are the areas in your spiritual journey that have been neglected? (For example daily bible reading, praying, giving, serving, etc.) Again, how do we expect our children to know and love God, if we don’t teach them by showing them and telling them about Him?

And then secondly, after responding to the question take a few moments to pray for help from the Holy Spirit to strengthen your walk with Christ in these particular areas.

Catch. Move from baseball to fishing… Jesus tells the first disciples to play catch. Not with their fishing nets, but with their lives as they now seek to catch people for him—Matthew 4. Dads “catch” your children and see how God will use you!

The Role of Parents in the Spiritual Journey of a Child

Remember the show Myth Busters

I want to give you a myth and in this session, we are going to bust it wide open.

Myth: “It is someone else’s responsibility to disciple my child.” 

So, just like in the show, we need to prove that this is false. 

Let’s look at our foundational texts again. Deuteronomy 6:4–9, Ephesians 6:4, and Matthew 28:18–20. 

Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Listen Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.”

Ephesians 6:4, says: “Fathers, do not stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Matthew 28:18–20 says: “And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

What do you see from each of these three passages? 

We find that in each, someone is being instructed to do something. 

First, we must determine who is the someone?

In the Deuteronomy 6 passage, we find that the author is telling the parents, specifically the father of the children, in ancient times, to repeat words to his children. So, we see the parent as the someone.

In the Ephesians 6 passage, we find Paul addresses fathers as the audience of his writing. 

In Matthew 28, we find Jesus instructing his disciples and all of us.

So we see parents or those who have been discipled are the primary audiences of the writers.

Next, we need to determine what these parents or discipled people are supposed to do. 

In Deuteronomy 6, parents are to repeat words to their children. What words? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Then the author continues to show parents what they are to do with these words:

  • Talk about them with your children at home and in public.
  • Let them be s model that you show your children and live by in both public and private life.
  • Declare them over your home, city, and community.

In Ephesians 6, fathers are to instruct their children in the ways of the Lord. Paul describes the conversation between fathers and their children and emphatically encourages dads not to bring anger toward their children, but to teach them the instruction of the Lord.

In the Matthew 28 passage, we find that the disciples are to go:

  • Go into the world
  • Make disciples of all the nations
  • Baptize 
  • Teach

*They do all of this with the promise from Jesus that he would be with them always. 

So, from these three passages of scripture, who is responsible for the spiritual wellbeing of a child?

The answer: Their parents/guardians. Our key takeaway from our time together: As a parent, it is my responsibility to lead my family and my children in their spiritual journey with God. I must take ownership of the process.

Ownership is vital to the success of your child’s spiritual journey. If we don’t place a priority on their spiritual wellbeing, then it will never happen. As followers of Jesus, we know that the bible is very clear on those who don’t know the Lord as Savior—they will spend an eternity away from Him, in everlasting torment. Now, we do not want that for our children or for any child, or really for any person. 

If we truly want what is best for our children and to see them thrive, then we will make it a priority to raise them in the ways of the Lord. We will not be consumed and find it celebratory “just to take them to a church.” We will be willing to change the scorecard and hold the mantle up.

Will this task be easy?

As a parent, you know there is nothing easy about children. While they seem sweet and innocent as babies, we soon realize that this is not so true. And better yet, we soon realize that our children begin to emulate what we do and say. A very humbling experience for all of us. 

This task of raising your children in the ways of the Lord will not be easy. It will be challenging. It will be frustrating at times. But, we must not shrink back from the responsibility that has been given to us. We face it just as we face other challenges in our lives. What we end up doing today will impact tomorrow for our children. What we teach them and model to them, they will end up doing the same for their children. Taking ownership of my child’s spiritual walk with the Lord will impact the generations to come, and ultimately impact the fulfillment of the Great Commission. 

Parents, it’s our responsibility to proclaim the gospel to our children and disciple them into mature followers of Jesus Christ. 

I invite you to respond to these two questions:

  • What specific actions will you take to begin this journey?
  • Will your children notice a change in your actions both toward them and your family?

The Role of the Local Church in the Life of a Family

What do you think the role of the local church is in the life of a family?

The role of the local church is this… Look with me at Ephesians 4:1–16. In particular, let’s examine v. 11–13.

“And he gave himself some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.”

Let’s notice what it says:

  • Jesus gave the church some positions:
    • Apostles—which there are no more of these.
    • Prophets
    • Evangelists
    • Pastor and teachers
  • To do something… what is it that this group of people are to do?
    • To equip the saints for the work of ministry
    • To build up the body of Christ
  • For a period of time…
    • Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s son
    • Growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness

Now, notice what it doesn’t say:

  • To be the primary disciple-makers in the lives of our children. 

Notice with me the word saints… Saints, refer to what? 

Paul refers to saints as those who are born-again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. His reference to saints here is to those who are in the body of Christ. There is a difference between a saint and a sinner. While we are all sinners, those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus for the salvation that he offers are now called saints. 

So, if the church is called to equip the saints to do the work of ministry, how can the church spend all of its time (speaking of course with children) equipping children, who are not saved?

In its most biblical form, the local church is not a place where abdication of one’s parental responsibilities as the primary disciple-maker in the life of a child is accepted. There is a level of expectation in the New Testament that the parents are the responsible party of leading their children to Jesus.  

Please hear me. We will and do attempt to do everything we can to disciple children under our care as a local faith community. We do everything we can to show them Jesus and point them to him. We will never stop doing that. But, and a big but, we cannot allow parents to take a back seat in this journey. For far too long the local church has allowed this abdication to take place, for whatever reason. Many times, the reason has been “look at the lostness among people between this age and that age.”

And, yes, the lostness of this generation is staggering and continues to grow. However, the church has missed the real reason behind this. Parents have missed the real reason behind this. The real reason centers on parents who do not fully understand the biblical mandate of Scripture to raise their children in the ways of the Lord. 

We believe that raising our children in the ways of the Lord looks like this:

  • Church Attendance
  • Sunday school/group attendance
  • Wednesday night attendance
  • VBS attendance
  • Church camp attendance
  • Allowing them to give at the offering time

Basically, be there when the doors are open and maybe give them some money to put into the offering plate when it comes around. 

Is this what we have deemed to be “bringing our children up in the ways of the Lord?” When did everything hinge on attendance? 

When we see the apostle Paul here in his letter to the Church at Ephesus, we find that he gives a clear description of what the church is supposed to do in the life of a believer. The role of those whom Christ has appointed to be the leaders of the church is to equip the saints to do the work of ministry. 

What is equipping? 

Equipping in the strictest sense is: preparing. Preparing someone for a task or mentally preparing them to accomplish something. 

If we take the definition, we find that the role of the local church is to prepare people—saints—to do the work of ministry. We as a church are to prepare each other, those who are in Christ to do the work of ministry. 

So, what is the work of ministry???

The work of ministry is the Great Commission. The work of ministry is Ephesians 6. The work of ministry is Deuteronomy 6. The work of ministry is feeding the poor and hungry. The work of ministry is evangelizing the lost. The work of ministry is providing for orphans and widows. The work of ministry is being disciple-makers. 

Do we start to see that when parents abdicate the role of primary disciple-maker, the lines become blurred and the roles soon become mixed up?

If we continue the track or pathway that we have taken, we will continue to see what we are already seeing. To be blunt, while reaching children is absolutely what we need to do, we have failed and failed miserably at reaching their parents. If the home is the hub for the ministry and mission of the church, then we have completely missed the mark. When we choose to only go after one section of people, then we miss the opportunity to go after an entire family unit. 

The message of Jesus rang throughout homes and families in the first and second centuries. It needs to continue to ring through our families today. This is how we accomplish the mission that God has left to his people—the church. 

The role of the local church in the life of a family is to equip mom and dad, or whoever are believers to do the work of ministry. That means we equip those who know Christ to go and make Him known to those who don’t. In our setting today, we equip you and me to go and make Christ known in our homes to our children and then see them taught the ways of Jesus. 

It is not the responsibility of the local church to be the primary spiritual guide for your children. You are responsible for it. I am responsible for it. We must not abdicate the responsibility given to us by the Lord Jesus. We must embrace it and run with it. 

Does it mean that we will equip our children perfectly? No. Continue on with the understanding from this text. The role of the church never ends. It goes on and on and on—Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s son and growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.

The same with our kids. We won’t stop. We are committed to proclaiming the gospel to them, calling them to repentance, and seeing them join the Kingdom of God. We will never stop equipping them to be the people God has called them to be.

Christian Family

What do you think of when you hear the word: Family? A lot of images begin to populate in your mind when you hear the term. For some, the ideal family pops into your mind. For others, a vastly different image arises that may bring about fear or hurt. Family is a trigger word. Yet, it is the word that the bible uses to describe two things: a community of faith, and the family unit.

Next, what do you think of when you hear the word parenting? Again, a lot of different images populate your mind. It could be the picture-perfect family walking hand-in-hand along a beach. Or it could be the chaos that really occurs! Ha! This word brings extreme joy for some and sheer torment for others. But, I want us to see that parenting is vitally important to the life of a child and their engagement with Christ. 

Today, we are going to talk about the Christian family and the role it plays in the life of a child. Our key takeaway is this: The family is the hub for everything that happens in the life of the church and the mission of God. 

Foundations is the biblical basis for this new culture we are attempting to create. Three scripture passages that form this argument are Deuteronomy 6, Ephesians 6, and Matthew 28. 

Deuteronomy 6:4–9, “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.”

Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Matthew 28:18–20, “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that commanded you. And behold, I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.”

In each of these three passages, we find that the family is at the center or the heart of the writer’s thought. 

I want to start by looking at two specific definitions. 

First, parenting. Paul David Tripp articulates parenting as the act of shepherding one’s child on God’s behalf. 

To be a shepherd, means we are leading someone somewhere. While we don’t usually see shepherds walking around leading their flocks anymore, we can draw from the imagery. A shepherd leads their flock to a specific place. And while they are on the journey, they navigate the terrain in the best way they know-how. They fend off wolves from getting to their flock. They go after a stray member of the flock. They look after and care for the well-being of their flock. They provide for their flock. 

In the same manner, parents are to do this for their children. We are leading them on behalf of God. Did you catch that? We are leading our children on behalf of God. Yes, that’s right. Our children do not belong to us. We are just stewards of them for a short amount of time. In our culture, kids become adults at age 18. So, if we want to go by those standards, we have 18 years to shape their minds, their skills, and their abilities to set them on a trajectory for success in life. What we do today to influence our children will impact them tomorrow in how they live, work and navigate the world. 

If we only have a short amount of time, then we must make sure that we do everything we can to point them in the right direction. What’s the right direction? Jesus. Plain and simple. Jesus is the right direction. As parents, we are shepherding our children on God’s behalf. He has entrusted us with their lives, and we are his instruments and tools. Are we allowing God to use us to influence our children for Him, or are we attempting to lead our children down a path that leads to heartache and trouble? 

Secondly, what is a Christian parent? Matt Flanagan, children and student ministry consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention define Christian parenting in a five-fold manner. 

  1. Born-again believers
  2. Connected and a part of the body of Christ through the local church
  3. Have a heart and ownership of the spiritual formation of their children
  4. Understanding the role is to equip and train their children
  5. Promised to execute the equipping and training of their children and watch over them through the process. 

Let’s unpack.

  1. Born-again believers. 

The gospel. Has the gospel transformed your life? This is foundational to being a Christian parent. We cannot shepherd our children on God’s behalf if we do not know God. We cannot lead our children somewhere that we have not been. We would not know where to begin. 

So I want to ask you, now. Do you have a relationship with the Lord? Do you know Him? Does he rule and reign over your life? Have you accepted His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ? If you have, awesome! If you haven’t, this is the best thing you could ever do for yourself and your family. 

  1. Connected to a part of the body of Christ through the local church.

Being connected to the body of Christ through the local church is so key. This is where we find community. This is where we find belonging. This is where we learn, grow, and serve. This is where we gather with others to worship Jesus, and where we are sent into the world from. Being connected is key. 

Despite the global pandemic, we find ourselves in now, we can still be connected with each other. Don’t try to go about this alone. Time and time again, throughout the history of mankind, people always sought community with one another. The local church plays a vital role in the life of a child and also in the life of the parent. We must be connected to a community of faith. We are going to go more in-depth in another session on the role of the local church in the parenting journey. You won’t want to miss that. 

  1. Have a heart and ownership of the spiritual formation of their children.

Next, parents must have a heart and ownership of the spiritual formation of their children. Think about your job for a moment. When you are given ownership of something at work you take it and run with it. It’s “your baby”. You want to shape it, mold it, and form it to what you see as the best outcome. Now, think about your children. We must have that same enthusiasm for the spiritual formation of our children. Moms, dads, you should be just as excited to lead something at work as you are to lead your children in the ways of the Lord. This draws direct pathways from having a high-quality relationship with the Lord. Own the fact, that the bible is clear about who is responsible for leading and teaching our children the ways of God. 

  1.  Understanding the role is to equip and train their children.

What is your role as a parent? We oftentimes think it is to provide our children with the best clothes, best shoes, best games, education, extra activities, house, car, and the list goes on. Essentially, we think it is to provide our children with the American Dream. However, might we approach this a little differently? Sure, as parents we are to provide for our children the food, clothes, and shelter they need to live and thrive, but we don’t often view ourselves as equippers and trainers. We equip them and train them in other things like how to balance a checkbook, or how to change a flat tire. We need to change the scorecard. We need to not only teach our children about things that will help them in this age but also the ways of the Lord that have an eternal impact. If eternity hangs in the balance, I want to make sure that my children know who Christ is, and what He alone has accomplished for them, and then I want to equip and train my children to tell others about Him. Do you?

  1. Promised to execute the equipping and training of their children and watch over them through the process. 

If we know we should equip and train our children, then we must promise to execute and implement that in our daily lives. We must watch over them as they journey through life, or the time we have with them to show them the ways of Christ. 

These two definitions will travel with us as we continue this journey. These two definitions encompass the main focus of our time: The family is the hub for everything that happens in the life of the church and the mission of God. As a parent, we center our lives around Jesus and his work—loving God, loving others, and making disciples of all the nations. 

In our reflection time, I want to invite you to respond to these three questions:

  1. What is your vision for your family?
  2. What do you hope for your children and your family?
  3. How do you want to see your family succeed in the mission of Jesus?

The Gospel

When it comes to discipling our kids, we need to know exactly what we are disciplining them toward. We are showing them what it means to place their faith, hope, and trust in the Lord Jesus. We are teaching them what it means to have a relationship with Christ, accepting his free gift of salvation through his finished work on the cross. We are imploring them to do so now, for their eternal security and also for their commission of making disciples of all the nations.

To do that, we must know the story. We must know the gospel and wholeheartedly believe it, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

Mark Dever defines the gospel as: “The good news about what Jesus has done to reconcile sinners to God.”

Based upon this definition by Dever, there are several things that we must consider to fully comprehend the totality of what the gospel is:

  1. There is only one God, who is holy, and made us from his image to know him and love him.
  2. However, we sinned and cut ourselves off from him.
  3. In his great love for us—his creation, created in his image—God sent his Son, Jesus, to come as king and rescue his people from their sin.
  4. Jesus established his kingdom that would not be shaken by acting as both mediating priest and priestly sacrifice. Jesus lived the life we could not live, and died the death we deserved to die to fulfill the plans of the Father.
  5. Jesus not only died but was resurrected showing that God had accepted his sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us had been exhausted.
  6. Jesus now calls us to repent of our sins and trust in him for the forgiveness of our sins.
  7. If we do repent of our sins and trust in Christ alone for salvation, he will freely grant us eternal life, and we are born into a new life with God.
  8. With this new life we are now free to live for the advancement of his kingdom to the ends of the earth for the glory and renown of his name among the nations of the world.

Notice what the gospel is not. The gospel is not a self-help mantra, self-positioning idea, anything we can do on our own, a me-first approach, or a my-thought, my position, or my-anything. The true gospel revolves completely around Jesus and his all-sufficient work on the cross and resurrection from the grave.

“The gospel is not law, demanding that we pay our own way. The gospel is a welcome announcement, declaring Jesus paid it all.”

Ray Ortlund

Jesus has paid it all.

Have you accepted his free gift of salvation? Have you trusted Christ for the forgiveness of your sins? Have you placed your faith in the One who came to redeem the world, and did so?

The Beginning: A Healthy Fear of the Lord

Everything begins and ends with a healthy fear of the Lord. Moses wrote about this very idea in Deuteronomy 6. Many times we jump immediately to Deuteronomy 6:4–9 before we really understand that everything begins with a healthy fear of God. This is the main point of the text and the main point of being a follower of Jesus: everything begins and ends with a healthy fear of the Lord. This is what the author intended for his reader to know at the time it was written, and that also remains true for us today.

What comes from having a healthy fear of God? The answer: wisdom and understanding. Aren’t those two key things that we all desire to have today? We want wisdom to know how to live our lives and point others in the right direction. We desire an understanding of how to raise our children, and how to work in our jobs and profession. We all seek to have wisdom and understanding. I’m reminded of how the world thinks those who have wisdom are to look: lots of gray hair! Yet, this isn’t the picture of Scriptural wisdom. The picture here is a healthy fear of the Lord.

And what are we to do with having a healthy fear of the Lord?

We are to teach it; we are to teach this to everyone. This is why we desire to help, support, and equip you as a parent with the wisdom and understanding you need to raise your children with a biblical worldview and perspective. This is why we know that the bible outlines that the responsibility of leading a child does not fall on the church but on the parents. So, we teach it.

But we just don’t teach it to parents. Parents, we teach it to our children. We teach this to our children, to our grandchildren, and to their children. We teach this to the generations that are before so they may continue teaching it to the coming generations long after we are gone. This is the avenue of discipleship. This is disciple-making at its finest. When parents disciple their children, and then their children disciple their children, and it continues to repeat and multiply.

Moses goes on to give these words: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.” So, we love God with every fiber of our being. It is not only who we are, but everything we desire to be. We desire to know God. We give thanks because of who Jesus is, and the revelation of the knowledge and wisdom that is found in him. And we make this knowledge and wisdom known to the world. The beginning of everything good is a fear of the Lord.

Because of who God is, we do something. We teach our children the meaning of these words and constantly repeat them to them and over them. We talk about these words when we are living our daily lives in front of our kids. We display these words to them so they can see them and follow them.

And the question remains, “Why do we do this?” The answer is simple. We have a healthy fear of who God is and what He alone has accomplished for all of us. We do this not out of obligation but out of obedience. We teach them these things so they don’t fall into the trap of this world. We teach them these things because their hope is not found in beautiful cities, houses full of goods, food and drink that is plentiful, or even out of a circumstance that seemed so dark. But we teach them these things because the Lord is good, and wants to have a relationship with them. We show them the ways of the Lord because he desires to love them and wants to share his grace with them.

Making Disciples Starts at Home

In his final words to his followers, Jesus commissioned his disciples to take the gospel to all the nations of the world by teaching and baptizing with the promise that he would be with them always. That commission still stands today for all of us. And that commission starts at home.

Biblical scholars have argued over the word “go” in the Great Commission. Some say the word means to physically pick up and move, while others believe that the intent is found in “as you are going” or as you live your daily lives. Nevertheless, the complete intention of the Great Commission is about making disciples. If the Lord leads you to physically move, then make disciples where you move. If he leads you to make disciples as you are living your daily life, then do so. The Great Commission is all about making disciples of Jesus.

This mission for parents begins at home. Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 6:4–9 that parents should love the Lord with all their heart, mind, and strength and repeat them to your children. He instructs parents to disciple their children as they go about their daily lives and as they move across the nations of the world. Paul gives us the same instruction in his letter to believers in Ephesus—bring your children up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Couple these two passages with the Great Commission from Jesus, we see that disciple-making begins at home.

Disciple-making begins with parents who love God, and desire to make him known to their children. When we see our children through the lens of Scripture, we begin to realize that we have a finite amount of time to invest in them. In the scope of our lifetime, we have a limited amount of time to teach them and disciple them in who the Lord is and what He has done. We begin to see that disciple-making doesn’t start within the walls of the church building, but in our homes.

When we as parents outsource our God-given task of discipling our children to someone else, we miss the sacred responsibility of fulfilling the privilege we have been assigned. Pastor and author Paul David Tripp puts it this way, “We shepherd our children on God’s behalf.” What a unique calling and gift that we are given. When a child is laid in our hands for the first time, the Creator God of the universe saw fit for us to shepherd that child on His behalf. Don’t outsource this to someone else. Take hold of the fact that God gave you that child to raise and to disciple for His global glory and renown. Parents, we spend the most time with our children than anyone else does. Use that time to point them to Jesus. Through words and deeds, point them toward Jesus. Through actions and thoughts, point them toward Jesus. As we fulfill the Great Commission by making disciples of all the nations, we start at home. The greatest thing we can do for them is to point them to Jesus. Don’t wait to start this journey. Do so today.

Do You Kids Know You Love Jesus?

What a surprise question to ask, right?

But in all honesty, do your kids know that you love Jesus?

In a world that is competing for your time, energy, and thoughts, do you children see that you have a growing relationship with the Lord on a consistent basis? Do you kids know that you spend time with Jesus on a daily basis by reading his Word, praying to him, and serving those around you? Do they see a reflection of a son or daughter of King Jesus?

Our children will emulate what we do. They are like little hawks watching our every move, hearing and taking in every word that comes from our mouths. They see things that we miss. They hear things that we never thought we even said. If they are so in tune with their parents, shouldn’t we be in tune with what they are seeing and hearing from us?

I want to encourage you to be a person who loves Jesus not in just word only, but in action. Show your children that you love Jesus by telling them about him, by displaying love towards them, and serving others around you. Let them hear you talk about the love that you have for Christ Jesus. Let them hear you pray for them and for others. Let them see you serve others. Invite your kids into your space you have created to spend time with Jesus. Let them see your love for Christ overflow from this personal time into the normal rhythm of life.

So, do your kids know that you love Jesus?

What We Teach Our Kids Today

Have you ever thought about what you were taught as a kid?

From learning the basics of reading, writing, addition and subtraction, to everyday life responsibilities like tying your shoes, someone played a part in teaching you these things. Whether it was a parent or another person, they taught you what you know and carry with you today.

What if we choose to teach our kids the basics of life, but also the ways of the Lord? What if we choose to take heart the privilege and responsibility to teach them who God is and what He has accomplished and now wants for them?

What we teach our kids today will impact them for the rest of their lives.

What we teach our kids today will literally impact them for their rest of their lives. And not only that, it will impact the generations to come. If we choose to teach them only the basics, then we are missing something. While the basics of life are important, the most important things we should teach are the ways of the Lord.

When we impart the ways of the Lord upon our children, give them a desire to know God and love him, and to make him known. As followers of Jesus, don’t we want our kids to have relationship with him?

So, what do we teach our kids about the Lord?

We teach them the nature of God and the characteristics of God. We teach them about his majesty and splendor. We teach them about his holiness and righteousness. We teach them theology—the study of God.

We teach it to them so, in turn, they can teach it to their children (Deut. 6).