How Disciple-Making Happens at Home
By Dan Lovaglia, Awana® Director of Leadership Development.
Parenting can be encouraging and discouraging, and sometimes more than once in the same hour. We deeply desire to know, love, and serve our kids well, but the hustle and bustle of our day-to-days gets in the way. We recognize our children are whole people – physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational beings. In order to help them navigate the realities of life, we get them to school, to sports, to music lessons, to play dates, to church, and everywhere in between. It makes sense, but is this the way disciples are made?
Our children are created and loved by God. They’re cared for and loved by us. But is this what’s getting passed on to them? How we spend our time and money is a reflection of what matters most. Left unbridled, we get going as parents and forget to take time to pause, to reset along the way, if and when it’s needed. Our kids see what’s really going on in our families day in and day out, but do we? Disciple making is happening, but to what end? When we’re constantly racing from one unchecked priority to the next, how can we ensure our kids will come to know, love, and serve Christ for life? We must pay attention to how disciple making happens at home, or our homes will never impact our faith and family the way God designed.
Proverbs 22:6 is a tremendous verse: Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it (NIV). It casts vision, clarifies values, and challenges priorities. Unfortunately it doesn’t define what “the way they should go” is. You see, just by being together as family, we will set our kids heading in a direction – for better or worse. It’s important that we heed Paul’s disciplined approach to spiritual life in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27. Training is required if we want to reach the intended goal. Running aimlessly is meaningless; running with Christ-like purpose is faithfulness. This is true in personal discipleship and disciple making as a family. To train up children, parents and other kid-influencers must be heading on the road that leads to life as faithful followers of Jesus.
If you’re serious about finding out and following through on how disciple making happens at home, here are five invitations that elevate the impact of relationship over rules to follow. Every family is different, but we can all embrace similar principles for the distinct disciple making journeys we’re on in our homes.
As a family, how can your encourage each person to respond to and walk with God personally?
How can you become more open to the unknown when it comes to matters of faith at home?
Would you describe your family’s partnership with church family as strong? Why or why not?
What is the most obvious way you and your family has changed because of Christ’s presence?
What holds you back from letting family members figure things out on their own with God?
So, how does disciple-making happen at home? It’s an unscripted, messy, unconventional, life-transforming, dynamic relationship with God and each other. Following Christ is a far cry from following a detailed itinerary. The same is true for how families form and get transformed – through relationship. It’s unpredictable and yet somehow marked by incredible faithfulness. Jesus modeled the five invitations above. They’ve withstood the test of time for over two thousand years and apply to individuals, families, and churches.
Watch a video interview with Dan here.
If you’re interested in diving deeper into these principles, check out Relational Children’s Ministry: Turning Kid-Influencers into Lifelong Disciple Makers by Dan Lovaglia. You don’t need to be a church or children’s ministry leader to live out the practical approach to discipleship laid out in this new book. Visit Awana.org/RCM to get a free chapter and order your copy today!