One of the primary desires of any Christian parent is to see their kids grow in their faith. Parents are the primary disciple-makers in the lives of their kids; when Jesus says “Go and make disciples,” this begins in the living room. So as parents, one of our primary vocations is to disciple our children. I’m by no means an expert of this, but there are some things that I’m doing that I enjoy and that I think are helpful in our home.
1. Find a good Bible and read it often.
Reading the Bible is a part of our bedtime routine. We do it every night in some form or fashion and this has been going on since before Eli could even understand we were reading the Bible. My goal in reading the Bible every night is that this would just be normal for our family. I want Elijah and Emaline to never think twice about reading the Bible before bed.
My wife recently blogged about the Bibles we love in our home if you want to know what ones we prefer.
2. Make your church home for them.
Being that I work at our church, this one is especially important to me. I want my family to feel like they own our church. I want them to feel like they are free to be themselves and love to be around “Daddy’s work.” For us, this means I do special things like let Eli play the drums when no one is around or go walking through the offices to see friends and family.
But even apart from church also being where I work, I want my kids to always see our church as their church home. I want it to be a family. And in order for that to happen, we have to be around church a lot - whether that be physically at a church function or simply with those who make up the church.
3. Sing Bible songs together.
I always knew Bible songs were valuable, but I kind of got caught off guard as to how soon they would become important. All of the sudden, I noticed Eli singing the words to “What does the fox say?” At that point, I realized I needed to start making sure that we listened to our Bible songs more frequently. We had already listened to Bible songs, but this prompted me to make sure it was on a regular rotation for our music in the car.
Bedtime also becomes the place where we are always singing. We have a few bible songs that we love by Matt Boswell. And I also always like to sing a few hymns every night to my kids as they go to sleep. And we still throw in some “What does the fox say?” or “Everything is Awesome” for good measure.
4. Encourage your kids to confess their sins.
Elijah is two. And that means he gets in trouble. A lot.
Since we started implementing time-outs as a method of punishment, we also made sure to add into that the importance of confessing our sins to Jesus. Whenever Eli gets sent to time-out (which is often), we set the timer on our phone and at the end have a little talk. It usually involves Eli telling me why he was in time-out, saying he was mean, and asking for a hug. Before he gets down I always make sure he says, “I’m sorry Jesus.” And once he does, as a dad, it’s my responsibility to make sure he knows his sins are forgiven. Then we get up and go say sorry to whoever else needs an apology.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but just a list of some things that I’m learning or have experienced others talk about doing.
What else has been helpful for you?