Go and Make Disciples… Starting at Home
Educating the WholeHearted Child: Chapter 6 (part 2)
In the years before I got married I spent countless hours with other people’s children as both a classroom teacher and children’s ministry worker. I felt driven by a passion to disciple the children God brought into my life, but there was always a certain amount of frustration for me. No matter what I did during the hours I had with those precious souls, in the end I sent them home to those God had called to be the main “disciplers” in their life: their parents. I longed for the day when I would have my own children to guide and influence.
Jesus didn’t have a casual relationship with his disciples where he met with them for an hour a week, or even an hour a day. They spent pretty much every hour together. Sometimes he verbally instructed them. Sometimes he modeled the ministry of the kingdom of God. But no matter what method he was employing, they were constantly learning and growing more like him.
When Jesus ascended to heaven, he left his disciples with instructions to follow his example, only now they were going to be the teachers. “Go therefore and make disciples… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). That commission has been passed from generation to generation. Our pastor often characterizes it as “disciples making disciples.” As parents, the most obvious place to start fulfilling this commission is with our children, who spend almost every hour with us much like Jesus’ disciples did with him.
This is my passion. It is what I longed for during those years in classrooms and children’s ministry. Now that I have my own children, I want to use the hours, days, months, and years to disciple them as fully as I am able.
“It is natural and normal for children to look to you for their moral, social, spiritual, and intellectual direction and to want to stay with their parents until they are grown. It is unnatural and abnormal to believe others should or must raise your children for you and to divide your child’s heart between home and family and other authorities” (page 111).
I’m always a bit taken aback when people express surprise and awe at my wanting to keep my children home with me rather than sending them off to school for someone else to take care of. “I’d go crazy,” they say. “You must be Supermom!” The idea of children spending a large part of their day away from their parents in school has become so normal in our society that we might not even stop to question it.
However, think about how God created families. Nowhere in Scripture is there a basis for educating children apart from home and family. I’m not Supermom. I’m just walking out motherhood the way it was originally designed, spending each day with my children, instructing them and training them in the things God has taught me. I am so thankful for the ministry He has given me at home, discipling these four precious souls and teaching them how to follow Jesus.
Each Mentoring Monday I share my reflections on what I’ve been learning from my “paper mentors.” I am currently joining in a book discussion of Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay Clarkson (with Sally Clarkson), so my Monday posts are all being sparked by things I’m reading in this fabulous book!