Want to be more intentional and purposeful about your family discipleship? Read on to see what I put in my planning template, a list of ideas you could incorporate into your own plans, and some of my favorite family discipleship resources.
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Inspired by some recent reads, an online follow, and a real-life friend, I’ve become passionate and purposeful about family discipleship. Raising my kids to (ideally) love and serve the Lord and cultivating a family culture centered around Him is one of my chief aims in this season of life. It’s one of my most important priorities.
But turning passion into practice requires planning.
You know how it is – life gets busy, everyone is going this way and that, and you have a million things on your to-do list. The things we don’t specifically and intentionally plan for usually (as in, almost always) get pushed further and further down the road.
That’s why I developed the following Family Discipleship Plan template to help me map out each week’s family discipleship activities. This template is the bones of my family discipleship that I can then use to flesh out during my Sunday planning sessions. Having a template to use means I don’t have to reinvent the wheel each week, making the process faster and easier (and more likely to happen)!
Read on to see what I put in my template, a list of ideas you could incorporate into your own plans, and some of my favorite family discipleship resources.
What Is Family Discipleship?
Is “family discipleship” an unfamiliar term to you? Let’s start there.
Family Discipleship authors Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin define it as “leading your home by doing whatever you can whenever you can to help your family become friends and followers of Jesus Christ.”
Basically, it is intentionally and purposefully helping our kids know, follow, and trust God. And it is our highest priority as Christian parents.
Why You Should Make a Family Discipleship Plan
At this point, you may be thinking it seems like a lot of unnecessary work to create an actual plan. Or maybe you’re more of a spontaneous personality, and you hate the idea of being “stuck” to anything predetermined. But here’s why you should at least consider making a family discipleship plan:
Our lives are busy. Our schedules are full, our to-do lists are bursting, and our minds are constantly buzzing with everything we have going on. And family discipleship can feel like one more thing we have to do.
But it’s not just “one more thing” – it’s one of THE most important responsibilities we have as parents. So, it is too important to leave to chance or “whenever we get around to it” (spoiler alert: you won’t).
Making a plan, by contrast:
- reduces overwhelm (feeling like you have to do all the things at once)
- prioritizes it
- makes it SO much more likely to happen.
My Family Discipleship Plan Template
What should you put in your family discipleship plan? I can’t answer that for you, since every family’s season, culture, and personalities are different. As an example, however, I’ll show you my family discipleship plan template that I use to plan each week. After that, I’ll give you some more ideas of activities to include in your own plans.
What Scriptures we will work on memorizing that week — the boys each have a verse for AWANA, and I pick a “family verse” to work on together as a family.
Morning Bible Reading
What Bible passages the boys and I will read together during breakfast. We are currently reading through the Old Testament (“flyover style” since my boys are still young).
What we will read/discuss during dinner a few nights a week. Right now, we’re working through the Armor of God cards from Tiny Theologians.
What character trait or behavior/heart issue I want to focus on that week. Of course, I always try to correct and train issues as they arise, but having one specific focus area each week helps me be proactive in character training.
Any upcoming holidays or milestones, family traditions, service opportunities, and/or other activities that will support and contribute to our family discipleship.
This might sound like a lot, but I promise it’s not as much as it looks! The first two activities take 30 minutes, tops (that’s all we have time for on crazy school mornings!), our evening reading takes about 10 minutes, and the rest is usually in the margins of our day or during everyday operations (ex: conversations in the car, while making dinner, bedtime routines, etc.)
Planning all of this does take some time, but using my Family Discipleship Plan template makes it much easier than trying to reinvent the wheel every week. And the longer I do it, the easier it gets!
Family Discipleship Plan Ideas
Here are some ideas of activities and practices you can include in your Family Discipleship Plan:
- Family Bible reading
- Family devotions
- Prayers before meals, bed, school, etc.
- After school conversation ideas
- Dinner time conversation ideas
- Dinner time reading
- Apologetics training
- Teaching kids about prayer
- Prayer journaling
- Celebrating answered prayers
- Holidays and milestones
- Weekly question sessions – i.e. inviting your kids to ask any questions they want, making sure to stay humble (i.e. admit when you don’t know) and looking up answers together
- Character training
- Readings about giants of the faith and/or church history
- Foundations of faith (catechism, core doctrine, defining key theological words, etc.)
- Teaching logic & critical thinking skills (being able to understand arguments, spot errors and inconsistencies, and effectively defend a stance)
Here are some of my favorite resources for family discipleship that have been helpful to me:
- Family Discipleship – Matt Chandler & Adam Griffin
- Parenting With Scripture – Kara Durbin
- Raising Tiny Disciples – short ebook by Phylicia Masonheimer
- Start With the Heart – Kathy Koch
- Natasha Crain books (for apologetics)
Websites, Blogs, & Articles
- Mama Bear Apologetics
- Natasha Crain blog (apologetics)
- Celebrate Kids
- D6 Family — This one is brand-new to me, but it looks like a great resource for Christian parents!
- “How I’m Teaching My 6-Year-Olds to Be Critical Thinkers” | Natasha Crain
My friend Ashlei (a school counselor, former teacher, wife, and mother) has a FANTASTIC Facebook group with practical ideas for family discipleship. I’ve learned so much and gotten many great ideas from the resources she shares and the other members of the group. I highly encourage you to join!
- Natasha Crain Podcast (I love this episode about teaching apologetics at home)
- Raising Cross Formed Kids with Ryan Coatney & Phylicia Masonheimer
- “Family Discipleship 101 (Adam Griffin)” – part of The Crossway Podcast series
- Family Discipleship Podcast (I haven’t actually listened to much of this one, but it looks good!)
- Tiny Theologians (we have and LOVE their Armor of God cards)
- September and Co. (we have their character cards)
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
- Family Discipleship: A Must-Have Resource for Christian Families
- 5 Family Resolutions to Make for the New Year
- 5 Ways to Maximize Your Family Time
- 10 Ways to Build a Kingdom-Minded Family
- 30 Scriptural Prayers For Your Family