There are 168 hours in every week.
Most kids spend two hours or less at church… and for most kids, that is the only chance they have at spiritual formation and discipleship. To put that into perspective, 2 hours a week every week is only 104 hours in a year, which would only get you from the start of Monday to 8am on Thursday. 4 total days. All year.
I created this visual after talking about how important it is that parents are the main discipler of their kids. I know that a lot of parents who have been in the church know that, but I’ve had multiple parents come to me when I was teaching their kid in Sunday School asking for help. They would, with great distress, tell me that they want to and know they need to, but they just don’t know how to disciple their kids.
The role of children’s minister requires much more than planning events, teaching Bible study, and developing spiritual growth plans for the kids in your church… it requires that we train parents to disciple their kids.
Here are 3 keys to help parents disciple their kids:
1. Any moment can be a spiritual moment.
Whether a family is playing a card game, eating dinner together, talking about a conflict between siblings, or grieving over that favorite toy that seems to be lost forever there can be a connection to Scripture and the character of God. You can talk about how God wants us to respond when we face fear or sadness or joy…every moment is God’s, so every moment can be connected to Him.
2. You are able.
Every parent I’ve ever talked with feels that they are inadequate to really guide their kids in a way that would be considered actual discipleship, but guess what? YOU ARE ABLE! You are completely capable of telling your kids how good God is and how He is working in your life. You can tell them how certain passages in the Bible are impacting you. You can tell them how you see God working in them. You are able! There are lots of family devotional guides you can purchase and walk through as a family, you just have to be willing and committed to doing it.
3. You don’t have to have all the answers.
Your kids are going to ask questions that you can’t answer. It is ok to say, “I don’t know.” It’s also ok to call your pastor or someone at your church and ask the question! God doesn’t ask us to know everything or to have it all figured out. He only asks that we be faithful to share and show our kids His love. Pray for wisdom and direction. Let God lead your kids through you.
Seek to invest in your kids as much as you possibly can as often as you possibly can. It’s never too early to start and it’s never a bad idea to talk about God with your kids. Start reading parables as bedtime stories. Start posting Scripture on post-its in your car. Start asking them what God is teaching them each day or where they saw God today… maybe it was in how beautiful the day was or how nice their teacher was to them. Don’t be afraid to ask and don’t let those 168 hours pass without investing.
Mary Carlisle serves on the CentriKid team and is the Camp Director for the CK3 team at Millsaps College. She is passionate about discipleship and spiritual formation in kids. She wants to write a book one day to help parents or mentors disciple kids, but for now is very happy to write blogs about it for CentriKid! Follow Mary on twitter.