“When you walk along the road…” Dt. 4:7
This verse is found in the oft-quoted passage regarding discipleship in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 where Moses addresses the congregation of Israel and explains how they are to pass their faith on to the next generation. He mentions four specific moments to talk about faith: When we sit at home, when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we rise.
I love these four moments because they are universal – every single person ever had done these things. They’ve sat at a place they call home, they’ve left and gone out on the road, they’ve slept and they’ve woken up. These simple, everyday moments are when God shows up, if we are looking for Him.
Over the past few weeks, we looked at the first of these four moments and found some creative ways to use the time we’ve been given as we sit at home. Today, we’re going to look at the moments where we walk along the road and how we can redeem that time to share our faith with our kids.
Americans spend a lot of time in cars in cars. Of course, the vast majority of this time is adults commuting to work but it is estimated that for the average American family, 6% of their time is spent on the road (Source). That comes out to roughly an our hour in the car daily. Between sports practice, school drop offs and pick ups, dance rehearsals, youth group and everything else under the sun, the car has become a place we often find ourselves as we “walk along the road.”
The car is a transient place, not somewhere we expect to stay for very long, even if we are on a longer drive; it brings us to the place we really want to be. So it’s easy to overlook as a space where discipleship can take place. But what would happen if we capture those moments and instead of making it a place that just gets us back and forth, it becomes a place where we intentionally invite Christ to be present with us?
Here are some simple ideas that can help us capture the fleeting moments in the car and turn our hearts to eternal things even in the most temporal of places.
Make a Mix “Tape”
Remember the good old days? Just you, your dual cassette recorder, and your favorite songs? Did I just date myself? Anyway, there are a lot of fun ways to make a mix of all of your kids’ favorite church songs.
Ask your children’s pastor or worship leader what songs the kids have been singing over the past year and put together a mix. You could burn a cd, add it to your Itunes or even make a play list on YouTube. When you are in the car or sitting at home, pop it in and spend some time singing, dancing, and worshipping with your kids, with songs they know and love!
Find a Great Podcast or Radio Show
When our kids were younger, we would have to “pause” our show when we got out of the car and our kids were excited to pick it back up when we got in to go anywheres.
If you have to travel frequently, might I suggest downloading or purchasing some Adventures in Odessey programs from Focus on the Family? These radio dramas provide a great platform for discussion with kids and they will love listening to them (you will too – they’re pretty great!). We have had many conversations with our children brought on by topics discussed in the episode and as an added bonus, the episodes all have Scriptures to go with them so you don’t have to figure it out yourself!
Find a Way to Serve Together
Sometimes the fun isn’t in doing something secretly but doing something together. Lots of families will go on family missions trips but if that’s outside your budget or not the right age for your kids, there are a lot of other ways you can serve together as a family.
Your family could bake cookies for your neighbors, run a free car wash, serve at a local food pantry or free meal program, host a neighborhood potluck, visit the shut-ins or homebound members of your church, make up a picnic lunch and give it to another family, etc. Putting together Blessings Bags to keep in the car in case your family comes across people in need as you travel.
Making service a family activity is not only fun, but it is the #1 ways researchers have found that teens connect their faith in Jesus to their life. Make Jesus come alive by being His hands and feet together!
Use Your Words
The older our kids get, the more we are able to have intentional conversations that lead us into some more complex spaces. The car is a perfect place for safe intentional conversation. For one thing, we don’t have to make eye contact which sometimes makes us feel more comfortable when talking about uncomfortable things. Two, we can’t “escape” by leaving the space; we’re all in the car together. And three, it makes the time on longer rides go by faster.
If you don’t know how to get the conversation going, check out these great conversation starter questions and topics from Doing Good Together. For an example of one intentional conversation I had with my pre-teen girls, check out this blog on Practical Discipleship in Middle School.
If we are intentional about making sure our communication with kids is real, relevant, and regular, we will make a much greater impact when we begin to speak, even in the fleeting moments of traveling in a car. The idea isn’t to be perfect communicators; the idea is to be effective communicators, and for kids nothing is more effective that seeing adults who are living what they preach, attuned to their needs, and committed to an ongoing conversation with them about God.
Remember, discipleship doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult; in fact, it can be as simple as just remember to intentionally invite Jesus into the most ordinary of spaces like your car ride to the grocery store or the road trip to Grandmas. It’s about seeing the sacred in the ordinary, His presence in the present, and welcoming our kids into that sacred space.
For more information about
- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- And much more!
About the author
Refocus Ministry was started by Christina Embree, wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and church planter at Plowshares BIC. With years of experience in family ministry and children’s ministry, she is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Ministry focusing on Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family and ChurchLeaders.com