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chick-fil-a discipleship: chicken and servanthood

Hello my dears! Just put the wee babes down for a "nap" or at least "alone time" after we returned after delivering cupcakes to our friendly Chick-fil-A. We have started what we referred to last night (with a chuckle) as our cupcake ministry. We take cupcakes to the CFA workers for the birthdays of the month where my hubs works. This time, the girls and I baked funfetti cake mix topped with milk chocolate frosting. I had to restrain myself from eating one as I told the girls they couldn't have one!

It's summer time and also a sort of fresh start for some, even if just in season. We have no one of school age yet, but I like to still feel as if we are on some sort of break for a few weeks. If you are a student, congratulations on a break and if you work, I still hope you are enjoying a little change. Yes, we love Chick-fil-A and I find it a great way to disciple the littles at home by serving others. We also had fun and ate lunch there, of course. Duh.

Discipleship happens at home! The word discipleship may come across as a bit...ahem, archaic, but it is SO relevant! YOU are the most influential individual in your child's life! I posted this article previously, but in the spirit of discipleship and a memory refresh, I want to post it again.

To avoid boring those who are not parents or have grown children, we can still be mindful to be sure we are intentionally being discipled ourselves and make opportunities to disciple others God has brought into our lives. We can ask ourselves if we are spending time studying His Word, surrounding ourselves with like-minded believers, and taking time to step outside of ourselves and serve others. Let me know how you disciple your own children or other people. Discipleship is not just for your own kids, but maybe other kids who have no Christian adult figures in their lives. My husband had a few great Christian influencers in his life, including a public school teacher, since he did not come from a Christian home. I would love to hear ideas from you! So, here you are! Enjoy!

Sitting up, crawling, and walking to the first day of school, friends, and extracurricular activities are exciting events in children’s lives. What a privilege and responsibility to teach and guide people who grow up to influence the world! Part of the honor of parenthood is discipling children at home, teaching them Who God is, how to have a personal relationship with God, and the importance of telling others about His love.

Research shows the importance of family influence on children. The Family Pediatrics Report (2003) explained that the development of children is significantly influenced by interpersonal relationships within the family. According to the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health, children's ideas of divinity, right and wrong, are shaped by their families. Based on these facts, we understand that discipleship at home is essential for children’s spiritual development!

Children are at church around three hours a week, which leaves 165 hours they spend somewhere else. For those not in school yet, those hours may be spent at home. Regardless, parents are the biggest influence on their children’s lives. They are the ones their children look up to for their entire lives.

Some parents may wonder exactly how to ensure their children learn about God, grow to have a personal relationship with Him, and can grow to change the world. By simply being intentional, parents can easily share the Truth of God in daily interaction with their children. This is discipleship at home!

LOVE: Take every opportunity to love, love, love your children! Let’s be clear that it is important to love, not to the exclusion of discipline, of course. It is important to create a healthy balance of love and discipline (Proverbs 3:12). In John 13:34-35, John the disciple instructs us to “love one another, just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” As they age, children will also respect what their parents say because they know they are loved unconditionally. Although they will rebel as part of the growth process toward independence, they will remember what their parents teach because they have a healthy relationship. Show them love in as many ways as possible. Hug them. Baby massages show love to the youngest of families. Pat them on the back. Tell them. Stick notes in their lunch boxes. Tell them God made them special. Spend time with them together and as individuals if there are siblings. Take them to ice skate. For free, take them for a picnic at the park. If possible, small treats show love as well. Create family traditions, such as ice cream after check-ups at the doctor. Showing love is unique for each family, so find what creative ways work. The bonus here is that the children will see this loving behavior and begin to love on their own family members and others as well.

CHURCH: Acts 2:42-47 shows the early church meeting together to learn Scripture, pray, and hang out. We see the excitement in Acts as people were saved and the church grew. Church is a partnership between the family and the body of Christ. Although discipleship is at home, we attend church to worship God, learn about Him, and connect with like-minded believers. The children’s minister is a great source of encouragement for parents and a great leader for their kids, but never takes the place of parents and home. Get involved in the children’s ministry. Find out what events are happening and be there. Volunteer where they need help with events. Teach Sunday School. Assist with children’s choir or missions events. Many Sunday School classes send leaflets home, so use that each day as a way to reinforce what they learned on Sunday morning throughout the week. There is only a short amount of time to be able to be involved in what kids are doing, so take advantage, especially at church. Consistency counts! Taking the time to invest in their spiritual lives is vital, since what is done for eternity is all that lasts. What a privilege for parents!

PRAY: Paul tells the people in Thessalonica to “pray constantly” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The importance of prayers is a theme throughout the Bible from the Old Testament to the New Testament. The prayers of parents for their children are powerful. Parents can be praying for their children for their children to know God and for their lives to be transformed by the power of Jesus Christ. Modeling prayer is important for their children as well. Take time before heading out the door for the day to pray around the breakfast table. Toddlers can pray too. Parents can help the little ones learning to talk learn simple prayers, while older children can learn how to pray for others and that God cares about all that goes on in their lives from “little” to “big.” Maybe they are praying for a sick family member or praying for God to send them a friend at school. Pray before bedtime. Keep a list of prayer requests on the refrigerator to remember what to pray for. Children can see how God answers prayer in each situation. Modeling daily prayer shows the importance of it and teaches them to look beyond themselves and care for others.

READ.LISTEN.WATCH: Paul writes to the Philippians in Philippians 4:8 to think about things that are “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and whatever is commendable…” It matters what we fill our minds with. Implement Godly stuff in kids’ lives using ordinary, daily activities. Reading a Bible passage from a fun kids Bible each morning, saving Sunday School handouts to read during the week, reading books that discuss how much God cares for them before bed each night. Playing fun Christian music in the car fills their minds with lyrics that teach them about Christ, even if they do not comprehend the words at the time. Few moments in life are more joyful than seeing a toddler dance to music and laugh. It becomes even better when they are memorizing words that they will understand later that teach them about their Savior. Even a toddler can bump to some Toby Mac! When it’s entertainment time, we can put wholesome television and movies to reinforce Godly values.

DO: Serve others. Paul teaches in Galatians 5:13 to “serve one another through love.” It is obvious that society is an introspective, “me first” place to live and as humans, we do not have to be taught to be selfish. They call it the “terrible twos” for a reason! It is uplifting to watch children learn to empathize and watch out for other children. Siblings can begin by learning to serve each other at home. Sometimes serving family is more difficult than serving strangers. Helping someone else with chores, helping a brother or sister when they are sick, helping mom or dad complete a task. For the little babies at home, surprise the mailman with a treat. Take a meal to the local fire station or police station and thank them for their service. As kids grow, the easier it will be to go beyond home and serve others. Pets and babies put a smile on most peoples’ faces, so visiting people in the hospital is a great family activity and means the world to those stuck in a boring hospital room. Grab a list from church and visit them! Participate in family church activities that serve those in the community.

TALK: Keep conversation open! In Psalm 78:4, as a lesson from Israel’s past, David encourages parents to “tell a future generation the praises of the Lord,His might, and the wonderful works He has performed.” Be purposeful and enjoy conversations with the little ones in life. Look them in the eyes and let them know they have full attention for every conversation possible. When Godly conversations come up, they already know that their parents care about all the other stuff in life and can be trusted with Godly stuff as well. Ask what they learned in Sunday School around the dinner table so everyone has a chance to talk on their level and learn from each other. The depth of conversation also depends on the developmental level of the child. For babies, as they get picked up out of the crib, point out the sunshine outside and thank God for it together. Rock them to sleep and sing “Jesus Loves Me.” Tell those littlest ones that God loves them. Help toddlers learn simple chores at the same time as simple phrases such as “we work together.” Elementary school students are deep thinkers. Ask about church, school, and friends. Asking open-ended questions after school or while doing housework together promotes good conversation and teachable moments. Also, it is a great opportunity for them to ask questions and explain their thoughts. Through conversations with children, we can be reminded of Godly lessons as they teach us. Some of the best conversations come at bedtime. They may be stalling to avoid sleepy time but it can be a valuable time for them to ask questions about God. Teach them how to have quiet time. Even the littlest ones can have a special time each day to be read to and pray. Preschoolers can be led through a special book to spend time with God each day. Those kids who can read can be encouraged to take a few minutes at some point each day to read an age-appropriate book to spend time with God. As they learn to spend time with Him and grow, they will learn to value that time as they reach adolescence and friends and activities take more time and attention.

A child’s brain grows to 85% of its adult size by age three! We hear in commercials, formula ads, and parenting websites that this stage in childhood development is super important. In fact, we know that between birth and age three is the fastest rate of brain development in our lifespan (Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy University of Denver, Morgridge College of Education). It is never too early to teach children about God’s love for them! We have just a brief bit of time to instill a foundation of Godly knowledge. It is also never too late either! As a parent, start today by creating this atmosphere of discipleship at home. We cannot expect children to naturally become devoted disciples of Christ unless we as parents are first, and then become intentional to teach them to love the Lord as well. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes intentionality. It is so worth it. So rock those babies and hug those kids as they go off to school each day! They can be the changers of the world.

P.S. The new CFA white peach tea lemonade is spectacular!



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