Rooted’s vision is that every student would receive grace-filled, gospel-centered, Bible-saturated discipleship at church and at home. And we believe that parents are at the very heart of this mission. Since a parent is the number one spiritual influence in a child’s life, Rooted wants to equip and encourage parents as they seek to grow their child in knowledge and love of Jesus.
As we prepare for the launch of our new Rooted Family Ministry video courses, we asked members of our Parent Steering Committee “why is family ministry important?” We pray that their answers will remind you of the important task of at-home discipleship and of the Lord’s grace that will always supply every need for both you and your child.
Terrence Shay, Family Ministry Pastor at FCBC Walnut and father of three
Parents are the primary pillars in a child’s life. Not only do they pay the bills and care for the children, they also provide direction and set the rhythms for the household. There are 168 hours in a week and parents have responsibility over their children in all of them, regardless of whether they are physically present. Therefore, parents’ buy-in and participation in disciple-making in the home, church, and community will either help or impede the biblical mandate significantly. There is no neutral ground.
As a pastor and parent in an immigrant church, I recognize that our existence is anchored in the separation of families and generations due to language and culture, which contributes to drop-off culture among the parents. Regardless of how gifted a pastor or youth counselor may be, that youth leader will not be there to see my kids’ struggles, habits, and livelihood.
Even more, because we live together, my children see those same things about my life through our marriage and parenting. The closer I am walking with God, the more God becomes real to them. We will either validate Gospel claims in our everyday living, which then encourages our children to follow Jesus authentically, or we will enhance their compartmentalizing abilities and teach them to be superficial consumers.
Even if we don’t know everything about the Bible, our kids can see whether we believe its claims and desire to apply its truths. We’re either going to give credibility to what the church teaches, or attack its Gospel foundations with our negligence. Parents are irreplaceable and need to be engaged, encouraged, and equipped so that they can lead their homes in partnership with the local church.
Katie Polski, Director of Worship Ministries, Trinity Church Kirkwood and mother of three
“Why is family ministry important?” Most Christian parents would nod their head in agreement that we must be discipling the children God has given us, but have you pondered the reason why it’s important? Deuteronomy 6:4-9 essentially answers that question for us: because the Bible tells us it’s what we need to be doing as parents. The essence of these verses commands us (yes, command!) to teach our children about God and his Word at every opportunity the Lord provides. If I can summarize in modern language, this instruction should be happening when we’re with our children driving in the car, when we’re taking a walk, when we’re disciplining, when we’re helping with homework, and in conversations around the dinner table.
This isn’t always easy to do, and no parent does it perfectly. For this reason, it’s easy, especially when we feel defeated, to just pass on the discipling to our churches or schools. But these verses in Deuteronomy remind us that this is our job as parents. Note that while the Lord commands to “teach [God’s Word] diligently to your children,” it does not say, “do it perfectly.”
We disciple our children in one way or another, so the prayer of our heart should be that our actions and our words point them to Jesus whether it’s through a brief conversation in the car or sitting in the pew on a Sunday morning.
But we don’t do this in our own strength or might – we can’t! We follow this command in Christ. As believers in Jesus, we have the strength and wisdom of Christ as we parent our children, and we are bathed in his grace every single day. Even when we fail, God is working.
Through our apologies to our children, God is working. In the devotions that we think fall flat, God is working, and when we fail to be consistent, God is still working. Trust God to help you to do what he’s called you to in discipling your children and know that he is working and guiding every step of the way.
Luke Paiva, Biblical Studies teacher and father of four
From the beginning to the end of Scripture, God teaches us that the family is his first chosen community for making disciples. It is the design of creation that humans fill the earth with image bearers of God who love the Lord with their whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love their neighbors as themselves.
The instrument of this commission is the family. God tells us in Deuteronomy 6:7-9 that his words should always be on our hearts and commands us to “ teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. . . You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” There is no time or place in the life of believers where ministry is not to be a central element of their home.
In Ephesians 6:4, Paul calls on fathers to bring their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. In his letters to Timothy, he reminds Timothy to remember all that his mother and grandmother taught him, and to “. . . continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus,” (2 Tim 3: 14-15).
In The Great Commission of Matthew 28, Jesus calls his followers to go into all the earth and make disciples. If we are called to make disciples of the children of unbelievers, how much more so our own children? It is through family that children should first come to hear of the goodness and truth of God. Discipleship is the greatest gift parents can give their children, and the highest calling of a parent in the service of Christ.
Parenting is not easy. Though parents should be a primary source of the discipleship of children, nothing in the Christian life should be done alone. It is through our local church and through ministries like Rooted that we should find a community of support and resources. I am thankful to be a part of what Rooted is doing to equip the Kingdom of God and I am excited for this new resource for parents.