I can imagine what many people think discipleship looks like in a pastor's home. Let me assure you that it looks as differently in every pastor's home as it does in every other home. We are not a one size fits all when it comes to discipleship. I am sure that some did it similar to us, some very differently. Some would be shocked at the way we did it. Hopefully others would find some relief in the fact that we are much like them. We talked about it the other night as a family and with a few others that were at our house. We shared what ours looked like and they shared theirs. Some similarities. Some differences. I love asking mine if they regretted ways we did things. And I love their honesty. Love how they still remember those on the way to school talks. Rarely were they about academic stuff although we did do some cramming on test days, calling out those spelling words n using flash cards. Mostly it was about choices that they might face or how to behave or treat others. And they still remember mom's parting words right before they slammed the door, "make good choices today"! Boom, the door would slam.
Maybe I am shocking you to say we never did morning bible studies together before school. We did not have a family altar. We talk so much about doing life with other people these days. Our goal was that they learn how to do life with Jesus and that we too would grow in that. It was discipleship, teaching opportunities, as we go, as we live,
We approached that from the pattern we see in Deut 6:4-7. "Hear O Israel the Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." We did not walk along the road much but we drove LOTS! And they were trapped in the car so it was a great talking time, talking time that had its foundation in biblical principles and living. We had lots of good talks while I cooked dinner and they hung out in the kitchen. Bedtime was a great time in each individual room for anything left unsaid that day and then prayer time with each. Dinners altogether were huge to us so the family table at dinner time set the stage for lots of talk about things going on and how we could have acted and reacted to situations and circumstancesof the day. Family night, for us it was Thursday night, was always a priority and gave opportunity to reign everyone in and reconnect if needed. During the summer months we bought each of them a bible study that was age appropriate and taught them how to sit with that and have their own time with God. That was to be done before the day's fun started and it taught them how they didn't have to have one of us or a teacher with them. They could sit with God's Word and have that alone time with Him. One of ours said the other night in the discipleship conversation that it helped that we were together a lot as a family. And we were. Whether at home or on the move we were together a lot. Family time always trumped friend time, ours and theirs. It also helped to grow up with a pastor/dad who they sat under his preaching A LOT and then they saw him live it at home. Not a perfect mom and dad. With 4 kids at least one is always around when you blow it. But they saw real. They saw their dad throw his hat n yell a lot at ball games. They saw their mom lose her cool over things that didn't matter or if they did matter there was still probably a better way to handle it. There just wasn't a lot of pretense. Life is easier that way. It was just real. Sometimes raw or messy, but it was real.
Our kids were tremendously blessed to grow up in a church where they were loved and allowed to be kids and grow. They had the best of the best when it came to student pastors who poured Jesus into them himself and set them up for amazing times to learn and grow in Christ. However, that never took away from our responsibility as parents. We were assigned by God to disciple our own kids. We were extremely picky about who had a hand in that as well. I'm thankful for all the hands that were in it with us as much as I'm thankful for all the parents who trusted me to disciple their kids. But I've always said that out of all the middle school girls, high school girls, college girls, grown girls that I was able to disciple, my own kids were my #1 discipleship group. If I lost them nothing else mattered. They were priority. I didn't want anyone else to have the joy of discipling mine alone. I never saw that as our student ministers job. It was my pastor's job only because he was their dad in our case but it's a parent’s job first and foremost. I know that scares some parents. But all we have to do is stay a step ahead of them. Today there's so much to help us do that and do it together. Don't be lazy either. It takes work. It takes time in the Word and prayer. But it's the greatest thing we will ever spend our time doing, learning the Word and passing that down to our children. None of us have all the answers. It's ok to be vulnerable in front of them and admit that. Grow together. Take that first step. Whether it's sitting down and opening the Word together, watching a video together or learning a few scriptures to give them when they're struggling in an area. When drama is going on share with them Luke 6 about loving their enemies. When the coach is making life miserable for them share some Matthew 5:44 about praying for those who persecute you. When school is hard and they feel overloaded give em Phil 4:13. And when girls, or boys, are just plain mean give them 2 Cor. 2:14-15 and show them how to spread that fragrance of Jesus! That's a huge way to disciple your kids. It's discipleship as we go. We have such a small window of time to do this. Many days I would love to go back and do it all over again, correct my mistakes, enjoy the fun of it, try it another way or give a different perspective. But we only get the one shot. You can do this. I know you can. And it will bring you more joy than your most favorite thing!!