As I said in my last post, “Motherhood: A Blessed Calling,” we as moms have an amazing opportunity to disciple and train up our children to know the Lord.
As a Christian parent, you hopefully have a great desire to teach your children about Jesus, but maybe you struggle with knowing how to do it well. Or maybe you’re unsure as to what resources to use. How can you practically implement discipleship in your home? What are the best ways to share your love for Jesus with your children?
Today, I want to share some of the best discipleship tips and resources I know of to help you as you train up your children to love Jesus.
Teach your children to follow Christ by walking hand-in-hand with Him yourself.
Our children will follow our example even more than they’ll follow what we say. If we don’t have a deep and abiding walk with the Lord, our kids will be less likely to as well.
I know your life is busy, and if you have little ones, when you try to sit down to spend time with the Lord, you get interrupted over and over! Or your mind is so full, you can’t focus on what you’re reading in His Word. In certain seasons of life, it’s hard to have quality time with the Lord, I know! I’m not trying to make you feel guilty, God understands, but, please know, He still desires time with you!
So how can we practically do this in our busy life as a mom?
God can help you with this – ask for His help. Ask Him to help you focus, to help you find the time to be with Him.
When I was nursing babies, I would read the Bible while I nursed.
When the kids were toddlers, I would try to get up before they did each day to spend time with the Lord. (If you’re more of a night owl, you could spend time with the Lord after the kids go to bed at night)
And you can train your children to give you uninterrupted time with the Lord during the day. They need to know that you and Jesus need time together!
Sometimes (okay, often!) I was too tired to get up before them in the morning. On those days, after spending some time with the kids, and after meeting all their current needs, I would tell them that I needed my time with Jesus. Then I would spend 5-10 minutes of (mostly) uninterrupted time with the Lord.
This was possible because I trained them to play quietly during this time. Don’t get me wrong, there were occasional squabbles, and it wasn’t picture perfect, but it was a little time with the Lord and it taught the kids a good discipline. As the kids grew older, I could spend longer times with the Lord while they played.
I would also have verses taped up in the kitchen that I would meditate on while washing the dishes. I’d put on praise music in the car, or while we were playing together. Any little time I could squeeze in to think about and seek the Lord, I used it!
And I would talk to Jesus throughout the day, asking for wisdom and guidance in the many challenging and exhausting circumstances that arise with raising children. We need His help, this parenting job isn’t easy!
Pray with your children about the struggles they have throughout the day too. If they’re having a bad attitude, or are struggling to get along with a sibling, show them that taking it to Jesus will help them too.
As a parent, YOU are your child’s primary role model, so pray for help to live like Jesus. Be honest and vulnerable with your kids. When you fail, confess and apologize. Share with them what God is teaching you. Your love for Jesus will be contagious!
Use teachable moments
As you spend time each day with your kids, you’ll have lots of teachable moments; times when you can share God’s principles and pray with your kids.
When you find one of your kids exhibiting godly behavior; being kind or helpful, praise them for it! Positive reinforcement goes a long way.
When you’re out in public or watching something on TV, and you see something that goes against God’s standards, you can help your children learn what is appropriate and what isn’t by commenting and sharing what God’s view of these things might be. (may I encourage you to guard against being judgmental, and if you point out someone’s shortcomings as a teaching opportunity, wait till you’re out of earshot and then take time to pray for that person, showing your children that God can help anyone to change)
Or when your child has one of those sinful moments, take that opportunity to share scripture with him and show him what God thinks of what he’s doing, praying with him for God’s forgiveness and for help to change.
A great resource to help you find scripture for these times of correction or training is “For Instruction in Righteousness: A Topical Reference Guide for Biblical Child-Training”
Be intentional about discipleship
Pray and seek God for guidance on how to help each of your children to grow spiritually. Use my free “Homeschool Evaluation and Goal Setting document” to help you think through where your child is at spiritually and in character growth (request in the sidebar).
I also want to encourage you to pray for your children every day… we need to never stop praying for them. This is one of the most important things you can do as a parent!
- Spend time each day together as a family doing some type of Bible study, or reading something that helps your kids to focus on godly character and living.
We found that starting our day with the Lord together really made a difference in how well our homeschool day went. It set everyone’s attitudes in the right place!
Changing up what you do for these times with the Lord together each day will help keep it fresh and fun!
Here are some ideas and resources for you:
Teach your kids from God’s Word
Of course, reading from God’s Word is the best way to teach your kids about the Lord. And it works best if you read something that’s written at their level.
When they were toddlers, we used picture Bibles like “The Beginner’s Bible”
In the preschool years, up till they were age 9-10, we would read to them from “The Story Bible” by Catherine F. Vos. This is written at their level yet is Biblically accurate. (I know I’ve recommended this one a lot, it’s really one of the best children’s Bibles out there!)
When they are ready, begin using your own Bible to read from, and teach them about how the Bible is put together. Help them understand Bible history. This can be part of your history study for the school year.
A. Here are some resources to teach an overview of the Bible:
- Bible Overview Pamphlet: (pamphlet – $3.10)
- Bible Timeline: (pamphlet – $3.48)
- Walk through the Bible ministry: there is a course that your whole family can take in which they walk you through the Old Testament and the New Testament, helping you understand the way the Bible is put together. You can host one of these courses in your church, and there’s a kids’ program as well. Here’s a link to the info: https://www.walkthru.org/ggs-kids
- Bible Study Guide for All Ages: this is a thorough Bible study written by a homeschool mom and her family (non-denominational).
- “Sword Study” –a Family-centered Bible study of I John with three levels based on what ages your children are at.
- History programs that incorporate Bible study: there are many world history programs for homeschoolers that incorporate a survey of the Bible. There are too many for this post, so I’ll make a separate post on that soon!
B. Character studies
- “Miller Family Series”, one of our favorites was “Wisdom and the Millers: Proverbs for Children” by Mildred A. Martin. We also thoroughly enjoyed “Missionary Stories with the Millers” (boys will love this one, lots of action stories, and they’re true stories too!).
- There is a companion workbook/coloring book that accompanies each of these Miller family books called “Character Companion for the Miller Family Series and Colorful Characters Coloring Book “By Kristyn Hage. This is a wonderful way to reinforce the godly character they’ll hear about in the Miller books.
3. “Pearables character building kingdom stories volume 1” – stories written in parable form to help build character.
- “Character Building for Families” 2 volumes by Lee Ann Rubsam The 165 lessons (approximately one school year) are designed to be done by parents with their children, it includes reading Bible passages together, discussion questions, Bible memorization, practical application, and prayer. Each lesson takes about 20 minutes. The studies are written at an elementary level.
- CharacterConcepts.com Offers a variety of resources to study character from the Bible with Rick and Marilyn Boyer.
- Virtue Training Bible By Mindy Dunn A great resource with Bible verses for many different character qualities.
- “The Young Peacemaker” Teaching Students to Respond to Conflict God’s Way by Corlette Sande. This is one of the best Biblically based studies I’ve found on helping our kids deal with conflict, and it transformed our home! It uses scripture and cartoons and great stories to help our kids learn to get along with one another.
- Check out my blog posts on character building ideas as well under character building ideas!
C. Use Real books, like missionary stories or stories about Christian heroes.
“Hero Tales, Then & Now” by Janet and Geoff Benge– these are great missionary biographies that will have your kids excited to hear more and challenge them to live fully for Jesus!
- Sower Series – biographies of famous people of faith to inspire your kids to live godly lives.
There are so many resources out there for us to use as we disciple our children, I can’t cover them all, but these are some of my favorites. I pray that these tips and resources will help you in your mission to facilitate your children’s spiritual growth.
If you have a favorite resource, please share here so others can learn about it too. I’d love to hear your ideas too!
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