It is a new year and a great time to start new spiritual rhythms in your family. I know that leading your home spiritually can be intimidating, but you have what takes!
The reminder of this post was shared in January of 2021.
I believe, more than ever, we need to recapture the importance of discipleship in our homes. I will put it this way. In our home, it is mine and Shelley’s responsibility and privilege to raise our children to grow as Christ followers. I can not give that responsibility over to anyone else. That can be overwhelming.
The question is often asked in regards to disciple making at home, “So what do I need to do?” Unfortunately, there is no exact answer or formula. Sorry….it would be nice if it was as simple as A + B = C.
But here are a few suggestions of spiritual practices to build into your family life. Maybe one or two of these will resonate with you.
I believe that these will help if you commit to them.
Intentional Encouragement– Choose one night per week to focus on one family member. For example, in our family we would have Shelley night (my wife). On Shelley night the rest of us will take time to share things with her that we love about her. We will tell her why we are thankful for her. We will let her talk about anything she wants to talk about. We will ask how we can pray just for her. We will pray for her. The next week we will focus on a different family member.
We also keep a cup with about 50 questions in it by our table that we use from time to time. They range from things such as “What’s your favorite movie” to “If you could ask God just one question, what would it be?”
Consider Each Other More – Challenge every family member to do at least one genuine act of service for a family member each week. Put everyone’s name in hat. Have each person draw a name. That will be the person they will serve. Do it again the next week. This will push them to live out Paul’s challenge in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others”.
Celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a Family– You do not have to have any unique training to have communion together. You can make it part of your regular meal time once a week with grape juice and bread. Here is a basic format you can use: Read Luke 22:14-20 out loud. Have someone say a prayer thanking God for Jesus’ work on the cross and then take the bread and juice together. You could even share with your family your spiritual story and why Jesus is important to you.
Have Extended Spiritual Conversations – I know it can be intimidating to lead spiritual conversations at home, but God is with you and is for you! You don’t need a grand plan or have to know everything. Just begin. A simple approach could be to read a Psalm, Proverb or chapter of the Gospel of John once a week. After reading it ask questions such as:
- What did you think was interesting about the chapter?
- What do you think it was about? What does it teach about God (Father Son, Holy Spirit)?
- What about the chapter challenged you? Confused you?
- Is there anything that you might need to do because of this chapter?
- How should we pray as a family because of this chapter?
You could build this into your time at the dinner table or any time that works for your family. A key to making sure it happens is to schedule it and stick to it. We all know that the business of life can be a challenge.
You can also ask each family member, “If the rest of us prayed just one thing for you over the coming week, what would it be?” This can open up to more conversation and help you know what each family member is really thinking about right now. It also gives you clarity on how to pray for your family.
Pray for Neighbors and Friends – Choose one or two neighbors or friends that you all commit to praying for that week. You can even let them know you are praying for them and ask for specific requests. You can build your prayer time into your family meal.
These are just a few ideas. It is not a list of things you have to do. Give yourself grace when you start. It doesn’t have to be big, dramatic moments. It doesn’t have to be perfect. But if you will commit to learning these practices in your family, God will work and you will all grow.
You can do this. You can make disciples in your home.