Family Discipleship

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by Kelly Shipp

I have a growing awareness that I’m not a very good listener to those who need me to listen the very most – my children.

I read in God’s Word that I am to impress on my children his command to love Him with our whole being. (Deuteronomy 6:7) This speaks of being diligent and even repetitious with an unending conversation about God. We are to speak truth to our children all day long and in every situation. Our children are watching and learning through the words we speak and the decisions we make.

I find myself distracted A LOT! The distractions are the same as yours, and I bet you are feeling the same pulls for your attention as I am. How can I have an unending conversation about God, if I’m not listening to what my children are saying?

Lately, I’ve been asking myself this: Am I the fragrance of Christ in my children’s lives? This is my heart’s desire, my prayer; to have the aroma of Christlikeness in my very being. But how great is our need for the cross! Unless we lose our life to Christ we will never find it. My life, and your life, is found in Him. Through Him we can be the fragrance that witnesses his greatness to our children.

The distractions are NEVER going away. So here are two practical tips that help me say focused on Jesus in their midst:

I get up early to read my Bible. I journal and pray during this time. For me, this simply won’t happen unless it happens before everything else. A cup of coffee is included (;

I am being discipled. In my D-group, I have found trusted accountability, women who speak truth into my life, and an environment that fosters spiritual disciplines like Bible study and prayer.

Deuteronomy 6:7 reminds us that we are our children’s primary discipleship leaders. Beyond the ‘unending conversation’, my family has been working on consistently worshiping together. Here are some things we like to do together:

We read the Bible together. We love The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos.

Now that my kids are a little older, we enjoy taking a verse or two and discussing it as a family. We usually find that this sparks a great discussion!

We pray together. We pray for everything and everyone. My husband and I pray together as well. This shows our children where our help and provision comes from and will hopefully develop into a lifelong discipline in their own lives.

If you don’t know where to start, ask your discipleship leader or another spiritual mentor. They will undoubtedly have some great ideas on how you can get your prayer life kicked off. Just go for it!

Here is my personal exhortation:

MAKE AN EFFORT TO LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN! Put down your phone, stop working, look in their eyes, and listen to them speak their heart. (If you can’t do it right that moment, tell your child when you can and then be faithful to commit to that time.) They will carry this love with them for a lifetime. And speak truth right back to them – because when you’ve shown them you listen well, they might just learn to listen well themselves.

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