Feb 28, 2011

Children Discipling Parents

In the last decade, there has been a resurgence among churches in equipping parents to disciple their children. Strategies and tools have been developed that God is using in a great way in families' lives. The emphasis is Biblically based as the Scriptures clearly shout this message to us. Parents are called by God to disciple their children.

There is also another theme I see in Scripture. Children being used by God to disciple their parents. Throughout Jesus' ministry, we see many incidents where God worked through children to reach out to their parents.

This will especially be common if you are reaching families with little or no church background. You will see God work through children to bring their parents to faith and discipleship. Here are some ways you can see God work through children to help disciple their parents.
  • If you have a children's salvation/baptism class, require parents to attend with their child. Time and time again, you will see parents come to Christ and follow Him in baptism, if you take this simple step.
  • Start a Family Bible study. I recently started a family Bible study on Wednesday nights. Kids and parents learn God's Word together. They look up Scripture, discuss key truths, and grow together in their faith. 
  • Send lesson discussion questions/activities home with the kids and encourage them to discuss/do them with their parents. Have the parents sign the take home paper indicating they discussed the questions/did the activity. Give a reward to the kids who bring the paper back signed.
  • Have a shared worship experience for kids and parents. We do this once a quarter. Kids and parents worship and learn a key Biblical truth together. Family interactive activities are available before and after the worship experience. 
  • Provide family service projects. Serving is such a key element to spiritual growth. Get kids excited about a service project. Require parents to participate with their child in the project. Last year, we did a beach clean up service project with kids and parents. We also invited kids and their parents to help prepare and serve Thanksgiving meals to needy families. The response was great.
  • Have parents prepare for their child's spiritual milestones such as child dedication, first Bible, transition into middle school, etc.  Provide a teaching/mentoring class that parents go through before they walk with their child through the milestone. An example is child dedication. Having an intentional class where you help parents establish a Biblical foundation for their role as parents can foster spiritual growth at such as critical time in a family's life.
    This past week, God sent me several reminders that He works through children to help disciple their parents.

    A mom who is new to our church was walking out of our family Bible study. She paused at the door and said, "I learned so much tonight. I think I learned as much as my child did."

    A dad who is new to our church asked to speak with me privately. He shared with me how God had worked through his son to bring Him to God. I have seen this happen countless times over the years.

    I had the joy of baptizing a mother and her two daughters together. She had brought her daughters to the new believer's class for kids. While there, she made the decision to follow Christ and be baptized as well. It was so awesome seeing the three of them standing in the baptismal waters together...hugging as tears ran down mom's face.

    I've never forgotten this quote from Bill Hybels.

    “Throughout the years, society offers the church just a certain number of entrance ramps into the ‘non-church’ world  At times its been sports. Then it was marriage enrichment. Today I believe the single remaining common interest or entrance point for non-churched people into the life of the church is children. No matter how lost a guy is, he still usually loves his son.  And no matter now off track a woman is, she still has a soft place in her heart for her kids.  This means we have a wide-open door to almost every family in every community worldwide when we love and serve their kids.”

    A child shall lead them...so true.
      Posted by Dale Hudson

      2 comments:

      Thanks for this, Dale. Agree with you -- I always try to explain to others that half of parenting is about God using us to disciple our kids, and half of parenting is about God using our kids to expose our hearts and disciple us.

      Great ideas Dale - another idea is having parents and children memorizing the same scripture. By kids receiving extra Bucks when the adults quote the verse it brings unbelieving parents to church Sunday morning to support their child.

      Can read of this plan here "Memory Verse Program" http://www.kidtrek-sundayplus.org/curriculum/

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