I am a Christian. A father to four. And I’m a pastor. As a Christian and as a father, I understand how important it is to disciple my kids. I’m sure you do too. As a pastor, you would think I’m equipped to do this. And in a lot of ways I am. Maybe even more so than a lot of people.
But here’s a fact. I’m human. And I struggle just like you.
From my own experience and from conversations I’ve had with other parents, here are two of the greatest challenges we parents face when it comes to investing spiritually in the hearts and minds of our children.
#1 I Don’t Have The Moral Authority To Disciple My Kids
Personal guilt paralyzes at-home discipleship. And if we’re being honest with one another, we can carry around a lot of personal guilt.
I know on Sunday’s we put on our church face. We smile real big. We shake hands and seem to have it all together. But in real life we’re not all that put together.
Sometimes we say things we shouldn’t say to our kids. Sometimes our kids see us do things that we shouldn’t do. We struggle. We fail. And we sin. And our kids see every ugly inch of our mess.
That makes us feel guilty. A little hypocritical. And it cripples our discipleship platform in our homes.
Or does it?
Turns out it depends.
The Worst Sinner of All
The Apostle Paul–the guy who planted church after church, raised up leader after leader, who wrote the majority of what we call the New Testament–wrote this in a letter to one of his protege’s,
This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”–and I am the worst of them all. (1 Timothy 1:15, NLT)
Don’t miss that. Paul wrote that Jesus came to save sinners, and that he’s the worst sinner of all.
But wait. Wasn’t he a pastor? Wasn’t he a church planter? Didn’t he write Scripture? Didn’t he see the resurrected Jesus? Yep. Still a sinner. Still messed up. And still didn’t get it right every time.
He goes on to write this,
But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:16, NLT)
Wait a minute. Is Paul saying that his sin and shortcomings served to bring glory to Jesus? Yes. That’s what he said.
Because when Paul turned from his sin, Jesus got glory by showing off His perfect patience toward sinners. That’s grace. And God’s grace is a glorious thing.
So, parents, hear me out. You don’t have to be a perfect parent to disciple your kids. You just have to do the right thing with your imperfections. Confess your failures. Get in the habit of seeking forgiveness. And give glory to Jesus who gives you His perfect patience.
When we confess our sins and cling to Jesus, we teach our kids that He is our only hope. And they get to see the gospel in action. And God can use that simple act of surrender to draw your kids to Himself.
#2 I Don’t Know Enough About My Faith To Teach My Children
We live in a world of specialization and expertise. General knowledge about anything isn’t enough anymore. And that reality causes us to believe that if we’re going to speak on any subject, then we need credentials.
But if you take that attitude into discipling your children, then you’ll never disciple your children. There will always be somebody with more knowledge than you, more experience than you and with more credentials than you have.
But Jesus never said you need a PhD in systematic theology to disciple your children. He never said you must walk with Him for two decades before you can become a certified disciple-maker.
Jesus said, “Come follow Me.” He said, “Go make disciples.”
If you have trusted in Christ, then you have the Bible and the powerful presence of His Holy Spirit. And that’s all you need to disciple your children.
Sure you want and need resources and assistance to help you along the way. We all do. But that’s where the local church comes into play. The local church doesn’t exist to disciple your kids for you. But to come along side you as you invest in the spiritual lives of your children.
Nothing is more important than being connected to a healthy local church. A good local church will help you teach your kids about Jesus. At my church we use a tool called Faith Path. We have tons of resources to assist parents with this very thing. You can access them here for free.
Faith To All Generations
You are the greatest spiritual influencer in the life of your child. And God has so designed things so that faith flows down from one generation to the next.
Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. (Psalm 145:4, NLT)
Let’s not let our personal guilt or perceived shortcomings hold us back from making the greatest impact on our children. For God’s glory and their good. Let’s teach our children about Jesus.
Question: What challenges do you face when it comes to discipling your kids? How do you overcome? Join the conversation clicking here.