Happy Sunday, GCAF!
My name is Alex Gaane. My wife, Bing, and I are parents to 3 children, 2 of them are in college and the youngest is in senior high.
I am here to share with you the importance of discipling our own children.
Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he grows older he will not abandon it.”
My wife and I have always known that it is our primary responsibility as parents to disciple our children. Thus, even though our kids have grown up in GCAF (since we have been going to this church when our eldest was only a year old) and all 3 of them have been attending Sunday School here when they were younger, we have never left their discipleship to just our church. Moreover, although they have also been going to a Christian school since their preschool days, we have also never left their discipleship to just their school. We have always considered our church and their school as partners in discipling our children.
In Deuteronomy 6:6-7, Moses gives us a beautiful picture of how parents should disciple their children. He says, “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. And you shall repeat them diligently to your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk on the road, when you lie down, and when you get up.”
It is clear from this passage that it was always God’s intention for parents to actively participate in discipling their own children. It is not up to GCAF’s pastors, the Sunday School teachers, or even their Christian Education (CE) teachers to disciple them. It is our main responsibility and we have to be intentional about it.
From Ephesians 6:4, the Apostle Paul tells us to “Nurture them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” So, our responsibility to our children go beyond providing for their physical needs. We have the responsibility to care for their spiritual and emotional well-being as well. Yes, their spiritual growth and education are on us too.
As parents we are to consistently teach the Word of God to our kids in word and deed. This means we not only teach the Word but we also practice the Word. Our kids are watching us always, and when we model worship to our God and obedience to His Word, such things will be impressed on their lives.
So, how did we go about discipling our own children? Like most families, we started with teaching them Bible stories and praying together as a family when they were younger. We shared the Gospel to all 3 of them. And when they moved on from Sunday School and joined us in the main sanctuary, we would often discuss some salient points from the Sunday Message with them, either on our way home or while eating lunch outside.
Even before the pandemic, we have had regular family weekly devotional in our home for about an hour and a half to 2 hours. And when the pandemic happened, we took advantage of their lenient schedule by adding another class night or lesson time, another hour and a half to 2 hours every week. So, 2 nights out of every week, we meet up with our kids for family devotional and for additional Bible study.
As for the materials, we’ve started with the Survey of the Bible by Pastor Bruce Wilkinson. From there we took up Fundamentals of the Faith by the Grace to You ministry of Pastor John MacArthur. Then we went through the One True God material with them by Paul David Washer. We’ve been through other materials since then, and we’re now going through the Discipleship Emphasis Month WIDER group study material as a family. After which, we plan to take up What is the Gospel? by Pastor Greg Gilbert with them.
There are many materials you can use, aside from the Bible study series available here at GCAF. There are also many books in our toolshed about going through a particular book of the Bible as a family. Additionally, you can also make use of the bi-weekly Family Devotional produced by GCAF since last year. For parents with younger kids, I urge you to take advantage of the KC Home Edition prepared by our Sunday School teachers, to replace the Sunday School lesson. I know that our full time ministers put a lot of effort on them, and both the Family Devotional and the KC Home Edition are available in our website.
All our efforts to disciple our children have made us grow closer as a family. We now journey together and even serve as accountability partners to each other, this means that we help each other keep our commitments to the Lord. We memorize Bible verses together and check each other’s progress on our Bible reading and personal quiet time. Our children also said that they have come to know God more, understand the Bible better, and even developed the desire to make God known. This was what spurred our daughter to finally join a WIDER group here in GCAF.
Bing and I have been very honest with our kids with the struggles we face in life; we are not afraid to show them our flaws or imperfections. In turn, they have also been very open with us about their own struggles. We support each other and we’ve gotten to know each other better through our Bible studies. And yes, I personally told our kids that their mom and I will always be nagging them about their Bible reading and devotional time until the Lord comes again or death takes us away, whichever comes first. For their part, our kids have expressed to us how grateful they are to have us as parents and how much they are learning from us. For this and many more, all glory to God!
We all love our children and we want them to grow in their knowledge of the Lord – to know Him and to make Him known. Bing and I share a dream, which serves as another motivation for us to disciple our children, and the words are found in Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Thank you, and again Happy Sunday to all!