I Don't Know Where to Begin



Thoughts from Ed Miller

Continuing the Series on the 10 Challenges Facing the Family


We often ask people what they see as the greatest challenge facing parents today as they seek to pass the faith onto their kids. The number one answer is almost always the packed  schedule issue. Another one that comes up a lot is the problem of feeling inadequate. Many parents want to disciple their kids, but they just don’t know where to begin or how to make it interesting for their children.

I was very blessed to work with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for most of my adult life. I was trained to disciple others and develop leaders. I had some struggles as I sought to translate that to discipleship in the home, but the training I received was invaluable. We all fall at a different point on a continuum of spiritual maturity and Christian life experience.

I don’t think a lack of discipleship or leadership training should stop anyone from taking leadership in the home. The real secret is having a vision and the willingness to take action. The lack of formal training can actually be an advantage because you can come alongside of your children as a fellow learner. This also puts you in a humble place where you can share honestly with your family. I’ve found that the willingness to share my struggles as well as my questions leads to a wonderful learning environment.

You may still be asking the question, “How do I get started?” or “How do I make family time interesting for my children?” Dr. Scott Turansky and I are currently developing a tool for families who want to make a start with discipleship at home. We want to make it easy to get started with a simple, activity-based family time every week. We’ll be field-testing the 4/14 Family Challenge 90-Day Adventure this spring. Would you be willing to help us develop the adventure? Give us feedback on the following questions.
  1. What makes a family devotional time engaging for children?
  2. What are the most important components of Christian discipleship that should be covered in a 90-Day Adventure?

Thanks for partnering with us in the development of this tool.

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6 comments:

  1. This is where my heart is as well with my blog - helping parents to realize that the most important thing we can do in our kids' faith development is simply come alongside them and honestly engage together. We don't have to have the answers. We simply have to be willing to participate in the journey of faith together.

    We have a "family worship" time with our 3 kids every night (twins age 4 and a 2 year old). It's not without challenges, but we are committed to it nightly. I wrote a blog post that describes all that we do and what we've found:

    http://christianmomthoughts.com/how-we-worship-daily-as-a-family/

    I hope it's helpful!

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  2. Hi Natasha! That is great to hear that you do a family worship time every night with your kids. And thanks for sharing your blog article with us. Looking foward to your article on this blog in March. We're hoping that this resource will help some families get started with just a weekly family time. That's big change for many people. - Ed

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  3. Our most successful family times with our 7 children have always been when they have a role to play. Asking questions and having something that they do really helps. Like lighting a candle or blowing it out, looking up and reading a scripture or a passage from a book, or some other active role. Also, the times when we have been reading a story aloud have always been successful. We have read the biography of George Mueller and a book called the Heavenly Man about a Chinese believer, for instance, and the kids would actually look forward to hearing what happened next and often wish we would read a little more when we ended. As our kids have gotten older we will often share video clips with them, which helps with the feeling that mom and dad are just talking again.....

    To me the most important thing to communicate is the truth and reality of God's amazing and very real love for each child. That they hear over and over that they are treasures, beloved sons and daughters. We have 4 adopted children, so this reality has been very real for us, but it is the basis for all of our lives-- that we are loved exactly as we are at this moment. That truth will yield eternal fruit for our children for then they will know that there is no place they can go and nothing they can do that will separate them from their loving Father. On that is built all other growth and maturity!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing Beth. This is very helpful. We too have found that having our children actively involved through an activity is critical. I also agree with you that emphasizing the amazing love of God is extremely important. This is exactly the type of input we are looking for. Thanks.

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  4. We read Bible stories after dinner each night and what has made it the most engaging has been asking them questions at the end about what happened and how it's relevant to us. My boys are only 3 and 5 and they can answer pretty well already. We also do family time once a week with Kirk Weaver's resources and the best lessons involve experiments or games. They keep them the most involved. We can also use those as illustrations later in the week to review what we've learned.
    The most important components for kids are things they have to deal with on a daily basis, working with people, making good choices, sibling relationships, obedience, respect and those type of things as well as salvation. I think teaching kids how to apply Bible stories and look for answers to their problems in the Bible is one of the best things we can teach them.

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    1. That's great Bernadette. We love Kirk Weaver's Family Time Activities books because activity is the language of children. Children love to be involved in the learning. Answering questions is also very helpful. Great input. I like the topics that you have suggested because they are things that we all face every day. Thanks for sharing.

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