Are you ready with your answer?
Each and every one of us needs to be able to look Jesus in the eye and answer his question honestly and personally. We can't let someone else do that for us. We can't expect a half-answer to suffice. We can't hem and haw and beat around the bush, or wait until we're older. How can we answer his question if we don't know him? How can we answer his question if we don't have a personal relationship with him? How can we answer his question if we only rely on others to give us the answers?
I, for one, want to be able to answer as Peter did when he answered "You are the Messiah, sent from God". (Luke 9:21) In other words, you are my Savior, my Christ, my Lord, my friend. I can only do that if I do, indeed, know Jesus. Personally, intimately, fully.
|Advent Bible Study
(This file is a 6-page 8.5"x11" PDF document)
If you would like a full-color print out of this Family Discipleship Kit mailed to you, please fill out the form below:
As a Children’s Ministry, one of our goals is to make families act more like church, and to make church act more like a family. When we talk about Family Discipleship Kits, the “family” refers to our church family. These Family Discipleship Kits are written so that our whole church family can study the same portions of God’s Word and be praying through the same requests at the same time. Since our church family includes children, some portions of the Family Discipleship Kits are geared toward children. However, we hope and pray that all of our church family, (regardless of how old they are or who they live with) will participate together, so that we can all encourage each other in the Lord.
The body of Christ is made with inexplicable relationships that are connected by truths more permanent than background, life season, or generation… it’s what makes the church so beautiful! These Family Discipleship Kits aim to foster those relationships as we all study God’s Word at the same time. If you find yourself in a season of life without a child to minister to, your participation in studying the same portions of scripture as the parents and children of our church will equip you to pray for these families more specifically, and be ready to encourage them with scripture more intentionally.
A child’s understanding of the world and of God (sometimes called a “worldview”) is always being formed, whether we are intentionally fostering that process or not. A constant barrage of information from school, friends, the internet, and television is already perpetually forming your child’s worldview. The important questions of life: “Who is God?” “What is He like?” “What is my place in the world?” are being answered all the time, and if children are not intentionally discipled by their parents, they will become disciples of things far less important than Jesus.
Children are so busy these days with school and extracurricular activities, and church can feel like one more “thing” for a child to be involved in. But knowing God and His word is so much more important than one hour a week! Fight the temptation to limit the discipleship of your child to the teaching they receive at church. As important as church, Sunday School, VBS, and summer camp are, most discipleship must come from you, the parents. Not only do you spend the most time with your child, but you know them the best, and they know you the best. God has given you a unique voice in your child’s life. This is your opportunity to make them disciples for Jesus.
The task before you is urgent. It is much easier to build a worldview than it is to change one. After the age of 12, adolescents and adults can add to and alter their worldview, but the ideas cemented during childhood have lasting effect. Now, while your children are young, is the time to engage their hearts and minds to know God.
Engaging your child’s heart for Jesus is important, but it’s a really big job and life is really busy. Perhaps all this sounds intimidating – maybe even impossible! Don’t be afraid. First off all, God has given you the grace for this task, and if you lean on him, he will give you the wisdom and ability to do it. Second, let’s be clear about what we’re talking about. God is not asking us to run a seminary in our living room. He’s not even asking you to teach a Sunday School class. He is just challenging us to redeem everyday moments with our children. Read how God challenged the Israelites to internalize his commands in Deuteronomy 6:
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
Notice how God highlighted everyday moments that are already happening: sitting at home, walking on the road, going to bed at night, getting up in the morning. God is saying, “live your life…but be intentional.”
Your child’s Sunday School teacher gets to see them one hour a week, and that’s a special time. But you get to put them to bed every night, and that can be a special time too. It is the daily rhythms of family life that are soaked in opportunity for conversations about God.
The goal of a church’s Children’s Ministry is to come along aside parents in this project of building worldviews. We hope these Family Discipleship Kits are a tool to help you as you adopt Bible Study, prayer, and discussions about God into these daily rhythms.
This Family Discipleship Kit is a tool. But keep in mind that it is just a tool. These kits are not meant to feel like a burden. The gospel is about grace, not rules. Jesus has already done the work of salvation, so we don’t have to do anything. So don’t view this kit as a homework assignment.
If you find some of the activities or lessons too intensive, feel free to skip them. If you want to do just half of the weeks, that’s fine. Want to do one section a day? Go for it! Want to do all the sections one afternoon? That’s ok too. You might want to do the reading after dinner one night, the discussion questions on a lazy afternoon, and skip the sticker chart. It’s all up to you. You know your family and your schedule best.
Along these same lines, don’t punish yourself with guilt if you start out strong but fall off the wagon in the middle of the study. Just like all battles of self-discipline, expect a few false starts – but embrace the opportunity to start again fresh each week.
If don’t end up using this Family Discipleship Kit at all, we invite you to reflect on what would be the best way to better incorporate God’s Word into your family life. How could you pursue something that sounds like Deuteronomy 6:6-9?