Here is a two-question quiz for your children and students:
1. Are you a disciple of Jesus?
2. What does it mean to be His disciple?
Why ask these two questions? Consider these words…
“Go make disciples.” With these words, Jesus commissions all his followers to make other followers, called disciples. Disciple means learner, a person who wanted to learn from and take on the pattern of his rabbi. Interestingly, the word Christian only occurs three times in the New Testament, while the word disciple occurs 269 times. Unfortunately, today the word Christian has the connotation of a status our children hold, a card they carry, disconnected from their daily activities. Disciple, on the other hand, implies a lifelong commitment to seek after, learn from, and stay close to our rabbi, Jesus.
(Chap Bettis, The Disciple-Making Parent—A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Jesus Christ, copyright©2016, page 7)
Lately, I’ve been wondering if we fall short in emphasizing this important discipleship focus in our parenting and children’s and youth ministries. We are rightfully concerned with presenting biblical content—what they must believe. We rightly focus on the Gospel and the necessity for conversion—repentance and belief in Jesus. But sometimes we are less diligent in showing them how to apply, practice, and live out those beliefs in daily life, throughout their entire lives.
One way we can renew this discipleship emphasis is to make use of resources in both church and home that use a discipleship model.
Carefully look for curricula and resources that foster life-long instruction in and practice of the Christian faith. Here are some things we have done at Children Desiring God in order to help churches toward this goal:
- We have carefully developed a scope and sequence that is designed to progressively move children and students toward greater spiritual growth as we focus on proclaiming the whole counsel of God.
- Use a relational, interactive teaching style in which the evidences of Christian discipleship are clearly communicated and visibly demonstrated.
- Apportion a time of “Application” following every lesson in which students are challenged and encouraged to follow Jesus in specific ways in their daily lives.
- Intentionally provide parent pages (called Growing in Faith Together or GIFT Pages) for the home that equip parents in leading their children in daily discipleship.
Here is a great place to begin: