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home is where the HEART of discipleship is

Good afternoon, people! I want to share with you some thoughts I have had in the last year or so that have kept me awake at night. I have shared before that I want my girls to be devoted followers of Christ above all else. In the end, that is all that matters! In student ministry, my husband and I have been talking about discipleship among students and how to get parents the practical tools they need to disciple their students at home. To keep this blog brief, I will post half today and half next week.

Parents may not believe it, but they have more of an influence on their teenagers at home than they think, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Studies show that parental influence actually makes more difference to their teenagers than peer influence! Since teenagers spend more time with parents than other leaders in their lives, home is the central place for discipleship.

When we hear disciple, we often think of the followers of Jesus in the Gospels and Acts, as they were students of Jesus, which is exactly what a disciple is. Parents have the privilege of discipling their students at home! Many parents have the desire to teach their teenage children to follow Christ but do not know how, while some question the importance of discipleship at home, when so many people and activities compete for attention. When it comes to discipleship, intentionality is vital, and there are several specific areas in which to make Christ real in teenagers’ lives at home.

Church - Discipleship is a partnership between parents and church. Contacting the student minister at church and staying informed about student ministry events is a great place to start. To truly understand the student ministry, ask the student pastor what the strategy is for discipling teenagers, the goal based on that strategy, and what steps the student pastor intends to take to achieve the goal of the student ministry. By having this information, parents will have a better grasp of how to reach them at home through reinforcement of topics at church.

Become active in their activities at church. If there is a meal at church, volunteer to serve it! If people are needed to run the sound board, step up to work it! If student choir needs a pianist, play as the accompanist! By engaging as an active participant in your teenager’s student ministry, it connects you to your child and gives you the knowledge you need to know how to communicate about the lessons they are learning at church for a winning situation!

Attend worship services as a family. Hebrews 10:25 states we “should not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.” They personally see the importance of gathering together as a family of believers because it is modeled by their parents.

Love – Love on your children every chance possible. Be an accurate image of God’s love. 1 John 4:7 says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” Parents have the privilege to show God’s love to their children daily.

Affirm them in person and in writing. Grab a post-it note and stick an encouraging message in a lunchbox. Write a message in dry erase marker on the bathroom mirror. Tell your son or daughter in person how proud you are of them.

Spend time with them. If they enjoy the coffee shop atmosphere, jump in the car and hang out for a bit at a local coffee shop. It may not necessarily be your

favorite place, but that small sacrifice to meet them where they are can exemplify Christ’s love to them.

Listen to them. It means a lot to a teenager to be heard, even when we as parents may not agree or when the answer is no. Sometimes just being heard makes all the difference. You will know your teenager better through listening, and because of the care you show, you have a greater impact for God in the life of your teenager. They will be much more likely to hear your Godly perspective on life issues when they know you care enough to listen. Your teenager may roll his or her eyes and dismiss it as sappy or silly, but it truly is meaningful.

Prayer – Pray together and often. In Colossians 4:2, Paul instructs the believers at Colossae to devote themselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Life is busy, especially with teenagers who have school, jobs, friends, and other activities. Making prayer a habit is vital to discipleship at home. Each family is unique, so how and when they pray together is also unique. Throw a chalkboard on the wall in the kitchen and have family members write prayer concerns on it. Make time to look at the board as a family and pray together in person for the written requests. This will encourage personal prayer time during busy days, and will also draw the family together to pray as well. If your family has dinner together, be intentional to take time to discuss prayer concerns going on in each other’s lives. If there is time in the morning before everyone heads out the door for the day, take a few moments to pray for people your family knows. Modeling prayer enables them to see the priority of prayer in their parents’ lives and demonstrates compassion for others.

Bible – Read together and often. In Job 23:12, Job states he values God’s Word more than food. If your family has time in the morning, take turns reading through a Bible reading plan. If your family has more time in the evenings, open up a Bible before everyone heads to bed. Creating these intentional moments to read through God’s Word demonstrates the importance of knowing it and instills this habit in their lives as well.

These are a few areas in which to think about how discipleship is growing in your home. It's super important because YOU as parents make all the difference! I will include some other areas of life in my next blog post. See you then!



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