Redeeming Life Church,
You've heard me say it many times: if we want to speak the culture of Utah, we have to speak the culture of family. I further believe that if we are going to have something gospel-centered to say to this culture, we need to be examples of families that communicate the gospel well with our children. Those of us who are fathers and mothers have a serious opportunity to disciple our children. It's a blessing from God and a command found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
Many of us start with little babies and watch them grow. Some however, marry into a family with children or adopt older kids. Either way, nearly every parent finds him or herself in a place of asking, "how do I best disciple my child?" These things don't just happen by accident.
When Benjamin and Berlynn said "I do" this past spring, Benjamin suddenly found himself asking the same question every believing parent should ask. "What does family discipleship look like?" And in the diligent and dedicated fashion we've come to love about Benjamin, he has set himself to finding good resources, seeking out good ideas, and doing the very best he can to disciple his new family.
I've asked him to consider sharing what he's finding with the rest of us. And maybe if you've found some good ideas along the way, you can share with him and he'll write something up about it.
It's my prayer we find this helpful, and more importantly, we become a church who teach our children to greatly love Jesus.
Soli Deo gloria!
"My First Six Months of Learning"
By Benjamin Pierce
Six months ago I became a husband and the proud insta-dad of a seven year old. In those six months I’ve learned one very lucid point in leading my family…“I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!”
For many of the dads and husbands I’ve spoken to the “I don’t know what I’m doing!” feeling seems par for the course. Family discipleship is hard. It squirms around when time gets long. It gets distracted. It misses moments and words. It’s messy. It gets frustrated. It throws tantrums and pity parties…and that’s just talking about the dad. What about the rest of the family? How do I as a husband and father lead my family in gospel-centered discipleship? How do I shepherd my family when I wake up and lie down and walk in the way (Deuteronomy 6:7)? How do I lead not just in information but also in life-filled discovery of God’s grace?
There are no pat answers. Discipling your family isn’t a one size fits all scenario. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not competent…and that’s okay. I can learn. And I should be humble enough to let others in on my learning. God in his loving grace has handed me a blessing to learn how to lead my family to become a gospel-centered team.
Here’s what I’m learning from others like Dr. Randy Stinson and Village Church this week. Family discipleship seems to circle around three different general patterns in day-to-day life. The first includes set times that I may gather family to read, discuss, and pray through the Bible. We get in a rhythm of gospel-centered devotion and shoot for simplicity and consistency. The second involves regular everyday moments that open up gospel-conversations. It’s when we talk about God’s design after seeing a full moon or a towering mountain or a moose on a hike. It’s when we mend relationship with each other when dad loses his temper or mom becomes disappointed or son disobeys. The third pattern is when we set apart special occasions, holidays, and celebrations to recognize God’s work in our lives.
Those three patterns devotion, moments, and family activities all open opportunities for gospel-centered discipleship. This week in Redeeming Life’s Millcreek House Fellowship we talked about anticipating the King around Christmas holidays and throughout our lives in reflection to Psalm 72 and our Advent lesson on God’s promises. Here’s how these three discipleship patterns could help fuel some family shepherding around anticipating King Jesus.
Devotion: Take some time to sit down and talk about what made you excited about Christmas time when you were little. Has that desire or anticipation changed? How has it changed and why? Ask your family what makes them anticipate or become excited about Christmas time. Read Psalm 72. How can your family use the Christmas season to anticipate the coming King more?
Moment: Look for opportunities to point out what people hope, anticipate, and long for when watching Christmas movies, TV commercials, or visiting the store to get gifts this season. Use the opportunity to speak how the gospel and the return of King Jesus shapes our hope for something much bigger and more rewarding than presents, or a perfect family, or the temporary cheer of the Christmas season.
Activity: Plan out a fun family activity that your kids and wife will love (i.e. go to a play, the planetarium, or hike to a hot springs) but keep it secret. You could drop a hint or clue here or there to increase the anticipation. Make a memory out of it. Ask the family how they felt waiting for the surprise. What did they feel when they got to the surprise? Talk about how we get to anticipate something even bigger with Christ. What hints and promises from
God can we turn to for excitement and a life of anticipation over our King?
As a family leader I don’t know what I’m doing but that’s okay, I anticipate God does...and I welcome you to watch me awkwardly learn.