Equipping our Kids for Discipleship

Equipping our Kids for Discipleship

Equipping our Kids for Discipleship

You may not be a parent, but please don’t tune out. We parents need all the help we can get from our fellow followers-of-Jesus as we guide them, set an example for them and equip them to follow Jesus.

Keeping it Simple

All of us disciple the children and young people around us, whether we recognize it or not. They follow our example, learn from the things we say, the things we do, and the things we don’t say or do. How though can we be intentional in being disciple-makers with our own children?

There are three simple (though perhaps not easy) ways we can invite and challenge our young people to become disciples of Jesus;


This one we’re pretty good at. It is in our nature and our culture to instruct, give direction, correct and to impart wisdom verbally. At times though, we can get bogged down in the details, determined to get all the right information into our kids heads – sometimes worried that we don’t have all the right information ourselves, or that we only have surface-level answers to the tough questions.

Instead of feeling ill-equipped to instruct our children in the minutiae of doctrine (which most of us are pretty sketchy on), we can give them big, simple, transferable ideas which they can apply in any situation and encourage them to grow in relationship with God, not just knowledge about God.

Some of my favourite ‘big ideas’ are; ‘God Made Me’, ‘God Loves Me’, ‘I Can Trust God, No Matter What’, ‘Always Make the Wise Choice’ etc. These big ideas, taken from, and explored through God’s Word, equip our kids with a good foundation and allow them to grow their ‘heart understanding’ of these ideas through their own adventures and trials of growing up.


Here’s where the detail comes in, where our actions, reflecting and responding to the work God is doing in us become key to discipling our children. Paul’s invitation to the Corinthians to imitate him came with a pretty serious caveat “as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). We invite young people to follow us, copy us, imitate us, AS we follow the words, the works and the ways of Jesus.

The simple truth is we are all fully equipped to disciple – we have to choose, though, to intentionally engage and grow in our own imitation of Christ. Our practices and growth as disciples of Jesus, on display to our kids, will be the chief tools in discipling our young people. They will hear our instruction but they will see and imitate our attitudes and behaviour (and the way those things are, or are not, integrated).


With a foundation of important ‘big ideas’ and some trustworthy, intentional and engaged role models, our kids are then equipped for discovery. They can begin their journey of discipleship, confident in the community, care and guidance of those around them and excited to be able to explore their own twists and flavours of following Jesus unique to their lives and situations. The instruction will continue, and they will still look to us as examples of what following Jesus looks like in each new situation they come across, but they will develop their own relationship with God that goes far beyond a verbal or mental assent to family or church expectations.

And there is nothing more life-giving (or challenging) to a family or a church community than young people excited about their journey of becoming disciples of Jesus.

Dean Herring,

First Quarter Pastor


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