Before I became a parent I never realized how much effort it would take to be intentional with my kids. It’s one of those things that I could not appreciate as a child. All the energy it takes to do the craft projects and have a family dinner, or to read the Bible together. My parents really went out of their way to create quality time with us. I also want to be intentional to have discipleship conversations with my kids.
I’m great at having a million ideas. I have so many ideas that many never reach this blog or even my mouth to share. It takes a lot more for me to execute the ideas I have. It is the same for me with things I do with my kids. I love the idea of doing holiday crafts for every month or of practicing family worship to start our day. In practice, it’s just not going to happen unless I put forth a lot of effort.
The command to make disciples was one of the last things Jesus left us with. It doesn’t happen by accident and it takes effort to create opportunities for discipleship conversations.
1. Quality Time
Kids spend around 32 hours a week in school in the United States. That means for over half their waking hours, they are listening to their teachers and their peers. Even if quality time is not your love language or your child’s, quality time is important to determine how you share in faith as a family.
Turn the Time Your Have Into Quality Time
Even if the longest time you have on a weekday with your child is in the car, you can turn that into quality time. Turn down the radio and have conversations with your child. You can use this time to talk about their day or listen to a chapter of an audio Bible and discuss it. You can memorize a verse together, or play 20 questions about Bible stories.
Choose a Hobby to do Together
Find a hobby that you and your child like to do and make a habit of doing it on a regular basis. Some ideas include:
- Start hiking or running together.
- Make dinner as a team on a certain night of the week.
- Play games together, start family game night.
- Go to see your local sports team.
- Walk your dog together.
These don’t have to be complicated. Just find some activity that you both like and do it together. Notice that it should be something you both like if possible. If there really isn’t something that you and your child both like, then choose something they like. If your child likes to jog but you don’t, do it anyway. They will remember that for the rest of their life and it will give you credibility later when you are sharing your faith because your relationship will be stronger.
If you do a hobby together, you will definitely make some memories, but go out of your way to make some special memories also. My daughter set the goal to hike fifty miles this fall season. We have planned hikes we want to do, packed backpacks, picked hiking snacks (bacon).
This is a great hobby that we share, we love to hike the trails near our house. However, I also will make sure that we drive to some special trails this fall that we will remember and talk about for a long time. Making memories doesn’t mean blowing the budget, it might mean something free or affordable that you take the time to make special.
2. Make Discipleship Connections
Create opportunities for discipleship conversations by connecting the events of your day to Scripture. Talk about the homeless man you see. Explain why tithing is important. Pray together about people you know who are sick or who need help. Whatever happens to you, connect it to your faith and to the Bible.
Recently my kids and I were thrift shopping and looking at home décor. I was hoping to find a cutesy wall hanging for my oldest daughter’s room. We recently moved and I’m letting them decorate a little. The cutest sign we saw said “follow your heart.” I told all three of my girls “this is cute, but can you guess why I don’t want to buy it?”
Instantly one piped up “Because the heart is deceitful!” Jeremiah 17:9 was one of the first verses we memorized together. I was curious if they would make the real life connection and they did!
3. Read the Bible Together
Take the time to read the Bible together. Ask open ended questions like ‘What did you notice in the chapter?” The things your kids wonder about or are dealing with will come out with these types of questions because the Holy Spirit will deal with them where they are.
After you give them a chance to talk, (or maybe they don’t always want to talk) take some time to explain the main lesson that you see in the passage. Then look for a time during the next few days to remember a point that you read about that can connect to something in your day.
You might want to choose a theme verse for your family and memorize it together. Ours is Micah 6:8. If you can, find it as a wall hanging and post it in your home. Be creative to think of ways that you can make your lives more about being disciples of Jesus together.
What am I missing from this list? I’d really love to hear what your family does together to create discipleship conversations. Leave me a comment below to tell me.