“So, if someone came up to you and said that they had never done anything with discipleship in the home; never talked about God or had intentional faith-focused moments, where would you tell them to start?”
Such a good question. And one that I often get asked by parents.
Where do we even start?
There are a lot of great books out there for parents, amazing devotionals designed to bring families together, and outstanding resources to equip the home for faith formation. But if I had someone with no experience talking about God with their children…I probably wouldn’t start with any of them.
Not because they aren’t amazing and not because they won’t find them useful in time, but if I were going to “get them started” I would point them to four moments; four unique moments outlined in Deuteronomy 6:7, everyday occurrences where God says, “In these moments, talk to your children about Me.”
If I have the chance to speak to a parent who has never experienced faith formation in the home or been intentional about discipling their kids at home, then I would take them there. And guess what? If I have the chance to speak to an experienced parent who has done multiple things to help their children with faith formation in the home, I would start them there.
Why? Because these four moments is aren’t mysterious or unusual or out of the ordinary. They are normal everyday average moments like waking up and going to bed. Sitting down at home and heading out on the road.
Simple ordinary moments that happen to everyone, all the time, everywhere in the world.
I encourage parents to make a list and write down as many things that they can think of that happen in each of these moments in their home.
For example, when does your family sit at home? Perhaps dinner time or movie night, playing video games or board games, playing with play dough or reading a book. The times where seats are in seats and your family is together.
What about when you are on the road? Driving to soccer practice, headed to church, shopping at the grocery store, or eating at a restaurant.
Bedtime? Do you read stories or brush teeth or have some snuggle time?
And in the morning? Do you eat breakfast, drink coffee, follow a routine?
All of these everyday moments…these are the times God said, “Talk about Me.”
Such simple times, such ordinary moments, but they become extraordinary when God enters the picture. Isn’t that incredible? The ordinary becomes sacred because of God’s presence, even the most mundane everyday moments of life.
Once a list has been created, I simply ask, “How can you invite God into those moments?”
I’m a firm believer that discipleship at home doesn’t mean you have to add more to an already busy, already full life but it means you get to intentionally welcome God into what you are already doing.
That list that they’ve created represents moments that are already happening, things that are already part of the family life and routine. It is into those physical moments that we can inject the spiritual conversation and use them to create a framework for faith and discipleship on which to build.
Here are some ways that our family has invited God into those moments:
In the morning, we pray a blessing over our children before they go to school. It doesn’t take long, just a few seconds, but it sets a tone for them and let them know that God is with them, they are loved, and this day is in His hands.
Here’s an simple outlines of what we pray each morning:
Lord, be with Caleb today. Go before him, behind him, hem him in on every side. Let him know that he is deeply loved so that he can love You and love others. Guard his heart and mind in Christ Jesus and let him return home safely today. Amen.
In the evening, we pray before they go to bed. I pray a prayer that reflects the meaning of their name and reminds them of their identity in Christ. My husband prays prayers of affirmation and blessing. Even if we are not able to be home in the evening, my children have been know to pray for one another before bed, because…that’s what we do.
While we sit at home during movie nights, we eat way too much popcorn and pizza, but we also ask some questions like, “Did that character make the choice you think God would want us to make?” and “Does that story remind you of any stories from the Bible?” (PS. Almost every superhero movie mirrors the metanarrative of Scripture – good vs. evil – great stuff for discipleship at home)
In the car, we love to listen to the radio and sing along. When the kids were younger we listened to lots of Adventures in Odyssey stories (see Focus on the Family for these wonderful adventures in faith). But one intentional habit that has stuck with all of us is that we pray whenever we hear a siren; we pray for the victims, for the emergency personnel, and for any medical staff.
(For more practical ideas on inviting God into these moments, check out this link)
These are just a few ideas of how we have invited Jesus into our everyday. And these ideas, these very personal, very real moments are just that – realistic and do-able for everyone.
When I have conversations with parents who want to start bringing faith into their home, I tell them my story but I help them find theirs. In the future, I might offer resources like books and devotionals and point them to blog posts and give them tools, but first, I would help them find their moments.
These moments, given by God, experienced by all, are where I would start.
Deuteronomy 6:7 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.
What are some ways your family has found to invite Jesus into these everyday moments?
For more information about
- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Discipleship in Intergenerational community
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- Seminars, Workshops, Coaching
About this Blog
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, ChurchLeaders.com, and Seedbed
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