A new year brings an opportunity for renewed excitement for family discipleship! If you’re like us, you know how overwhelming it can be to feel like you are responsible for your child’s spiritual development. However, we believe the Lord has given us the power, through His Spirit in us, to train up our children to follow Jesus well. A new year invites us into opportunities to start over, improve, progress or even do things completely different. As you move into 2024, Nate and Bailey Eller of Unfold the Family share four ways to meet your family discipleship resolutions.
1. Resolve — Build your family mission statement.
“But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
Resolve is a firm determination. Building a family mission statement will reflect what you have determined your family will be. Your mission statement is the resolve and goal of your family. Your family will need to understand what the mission is in order to build their lives around that mission. They must know the goal in order to accomplish that goal. In Joshua 24:15, he and the Israelites are faced with a choice of what matters most. With determination and direction Joshua resolves for himself and his family to serve the LORD. Your family mission statement is an excellent filter for what you build your life around.
Here are some questions to help you build your family mission statement:
What is God’s call on your family?
What is your family uniquely passionate about?
How is your family gifted?
Use common answers/themes from these questions to create a one- to two-sentence mission statement.
2. Rhythms — Build your family schedule.
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6–9)
Now that you know your mission as a family, build your rhythms to reflect your resolve.
A rhythm is a regular sequence of actions. Sit down and build out a schedule of when you will implement your rhythms of discipleship. As Deuteronomy tells us, it is important to build in these rhythms of discipling your child, but also point your child to Jesus in the everyday ordinary moments. As you incorporate these rhythms you will find that talking about Jesus comes more naturally in these moments.
Here are some questions to help you build your schedule:
What spiritual disciplines can you incorporate into your everyday family rhythms?
How can you order your mornings and evenings around training your child in the way of Jesus?
What natural pockets of time are opportunities to intentionally disciple your child? (e.g., at the dinner table, on the way to school, etc.)
3. Resilience — Build your persistence.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
Resilience is key. A transformed life does not happen in a day; it is a slow process of faithfully investing in your child’s walk with Jesus. You will reap what you sow. If you sow sparingly with your child, you will reap sparingly. Don’t hold back sowing biblical seeds into your child. Sow with resilience. Be patient. Sow with all you have; and by the grace of God, pray that when your child is out of your house you will reap a harvest that’s greater than you could have ever asked or imagined.
Here are some questions to help you build your persistence:
What challenges do you anticipate you will face as you carry out your family discipleship plan?
How will you remain resilient?
Do you have a community of friends to journey with you?
4. Remain — Build your heart.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Remaining in Jesus is the only way for you to be both faithful and fruitful in your spiritual resolutions. You can build the best mission statement, implement the greatest rhythms and be resilient in all your efforts. However, if you don’t remain in Jesus, you can do nothing. The greatest way for you to impact your child and carry out your discipleship plan is to remain in Jesus. As you remain in Jesus He will bring the resolve. He will give you wisdom as you build your rhythms, and He will make you resilient.
Here are some questions to help you build your heart:
As you think about discipling your child, why is it important to build your own heart?
Are there any areas you are trusting in yourself over Jesus for the spiritual growth of your child?
Is there sin in your heart in which you need to repent?
In what ways can you be sure to remain in Jesus as you disciple your child?
You are God’s plan to lead your child to follow Jesus. As you carry out your family discipleship plan in 2024, may you always look to your family resolve, remember your rhythms, stay resilient and remain in Jesus.
This article was written by our friends Nate and Bailey Eller at Unfold the Family. Unfold the Family is a discipleship tool designed to equip parents with fun and creative family activities that point their children to Jesus. To learn more about their ministry, visit unfoldthefamily.com.