discipleship


Home is the ultimate small group for growth and mission in this world.  Think about it.  Home life provides a context of discipleship unlike any other where parents serve as primary pastors to their children.  Mark Driscoll writes,

Because parents love their children the deepest, know them the best, and are with them the most, they are best suited to be a child’s primary pastor who gospels them, teaches them, loves them, prays for and with them, and reads Scripture to them.

I would only add that the home ought to be a place where parents model a missional life to their children.  But let’s be careful not to go too far with this idea of home as a small group.  Though it’s true that parents are the primary teachers and shepherds for their children, it doesn’t mean that the Church is secondary and unneeded.  On the contrary, our temporary, earthly family is part of a bigger, eternal church family that reinforces and supplements the biblical instruction we ought to be giving in the home.  Our home small group is not the church.  It is part of the church, indeed, part of the body that grows and adds members through it’s common mission.

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Mark Driscoll gives a realistic approach to doing family devotions at dinnertime: 

Step 1. Eat dinner with your entire family regularly.
Step 2. Mom and Dad sit next to one another to lead the family discussion.
Step 3. Open the meal by asking if there is anyone or anything to pray for.
Step 4. Someone opens in prayer and covers any requests. This task should be rotated among family members so that different people take turns learning to pray aloud.
Step 5. Start eating and discuss how everyone’s day went.
Step 6. Have a Bible in front of the parents in a translation that is age-appropriate for the kids’ reading level. Have someone (parent or child) open the Bible, and assign a portion to read aloud while everyone is eating and listening.
Step 7. Parents should note key words and themes in the passage and explain them to the kids on an age-appropriate level.
Step 8. Ask questions about the passage.  You may want to begin with having your children summarize what was read—retelling the story or passage outline.  Then, ask the following questions:  What does this passage teach us about God?  What does it say about us or about how God sees us?  What does it teach us about our relationships with others?
Step 9. Let the conversation happen naturally, listen carefully to the kids, let them answer the questions, and fill in whatever they miss or lovingly and gently correct whatever they get wrong so as to help them.
Step 10. If the Scriptures convict you of sin, repent as you need to your family, and share appropriately honest parts of your life story so the kids can see Jesus’ work in your life and your need for him too.  This demonstrates gospel humility to them.
Step 11. At the end of dinner, ask the kids if they have any questions for you.
Step 12. If you miss a night, or if conversation gets off track, or if your family occasionally just wants to talk about something else, don’t stress—it’s inevitable.

Adapted from “Family Dinner Bible Studies” by Mark Driscoll in Trial: 8 Witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter, a study guide. (Mars Hill Church, 2009), pages 69-70.

True teaching aims at life change.  I can teach an amazing lesson complete with powerpoint and handouts, but if my students haven’t changed, then have I really taught?

Knowing full well that life change is impossible without God’s intervention, there are still some things that we as teachers must do.  I call it the M.I.A. (Missing in Action) as these 3 elements are often missing in our teaching:

  • Modeling — (ME) It starts with me.  The more I change, the more I can influence others to change.  I must become what I want my students to become.  Not a perfect example, but an authentic one.
  • Involvement — (WE) I must get my class involved in the learning process.  I must learn the art of asking good questions and become more of a leader than a lecturer.  Too much of our teaching is entirely too passive.
  • Accountability — (YOU & ME) When I’m done with my lesson, I’m not done.  I must create an intentional plan of action to be done outside the classroom.  Oftentimes, teachers feel the pressure to “get through the lesson” and leave out this important step.  But good teachers follow up with their students to see if they did what they were asked to do in an environment of humility and grace.

If you’re aiming at life change, look for ways you can build these three elements into your teaching, all the while depending on the Holy Spirit to do what you cannot do.

171 Are you looking for music that helps your kids memorize Scripture and actually sounds good?  I’ve been really impressed with the songs from Seeds.  They have quality songs set to Scripture and put in different themes:

Timothy Jones recently gave a seminar for Children Desiring God based on his forthcoming book, Perspectives on Family Ministry.  Topics included:

  • Problems in the Church with Family Ministry
  • What Needs to Change
  • 3 Models of Family Ministry
  • How Does it Work?

*Read more about it here

I’ve heard it said that sanctification happens in small steps.  So if I desire to grow in my relationship with God and others this year, it matters what I do today.  Interestingly enough, I saw this truth in the Sports Page from a quote by Arizona Cardinals all-pro receiver Larry Fitzgerald.  He said,

I don’t look too far in the future.  I just look at today.  How can I be the best player I can be on Wednesday?   How can I be the best player I can be on Thursday?  If I can continue to chip away like that, then I can be the best player on Sunday.

If you’ve seen Fitzgerald play you know he is an extremely gifted athlete.  But his success is directly related to his willingness to work hard each day.  I want to translate that to my own life in ministry.  All I have is today.  So I want to say with the Apostle Paul,

I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.  ~ 1 Cor. 15:10b

survey_post_it__small__gisi1.jpgI am doing a short survey in preparation for a message this Sunday.  Here’s the two big questions:

Why do we avoid, or at least not pursue, deep relationships with other Christians? 

How would you encourage someone to take a step and grow in their relationships with other believers?

Don’t be shy.  Post your comment.  I’m curious to know your thoughts on this.

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