God calls the family to play a vital role in discipling the next generation. How this is accomplished varies from family to family and is as unique as the DNA of each home. Family discipleship isn’t one-size-fits-all, and it isn’t easy—even the most intentional of Christian parents may find themselves at a loss as to how to begin.
The Village wants to come alongside parents to help them craft their own approach to family discipleship. Though each family is unique, we believe that vibrant family discipleship can take shape around three key elements: time, moments and milestones.
Create family discipleship time
Parents build intentional time into the rhythm of family life for the purpose of thinking about, talking about and living out the gospel. Parents who leverage time prioritize gathering their family in the home regularly—daily or weekly—to read Scripture or pray, to learn about a missionary and to sing praise songs together. Depending on the ages of the children, this regularly occurring time might vary in what it emphasizes and accomplishes.
Capture family discipleship moments
Parents capture and leverage opportunities in the course of everyday life for the purpose of gospel-centered conversations. Parents who leverage moments might use a good grade on a test to talk about how God gives us gifts to be used to build His kingdom. They might use an argument between siblings as a chance to talk about mutual submission to one another out of love. Parents who make use of moments look for ways to connect everyday ups and downs to gospel truths.
Recognize and remember family discipleship milestones
Parents mark and make occasions to celebrate and commemorate significant spiritual milestones of God’s work in the life of the family and child. Parents who leverage milestones might mark the one-year anniversary since a child’s broken arm was healed by going out for ice cream to celebrate God’s faithfulness. They might plan a special day around talking about sex and sexuality. They might plant a tree to remember a grandparent who modeled God’s love to them. Parents who leverage milestones look for ways to use significant birthdays, trips or anniversaries to reinforce the gospel to their family. This might be occasions we make and create, like an orchestrated family rite of passage ceremony. On the other hand, it could be occasions we mark, like a yearly remembrance of a birth or death that was significant to the family.
Moving forward, The Village will be creating resources that offer tools, suggestions and ideas to help parents make the most of these three elements. We hope these resources will help parents think intentionally about the “how” of family discipleship, and that families of all shapes and sizes—single parent, blended, large and small—will be able to implement time, moments and milestones in ways that strengthen homes and instill the gospel in the next generation.