Raising Kids as Missional Disciples

by Tamara D. on

Articles 4 min read
Deuteronomy 6:4–7

Raising children and discipling them to love and follow Jesus for a lifetime is one of the hardest, yet greatest responsibilities I have ever had. And while there are no guarantees for ensuring that our kids will walk with God for a lifetime, instilling in them a heart for the things God is passionate about is worth all of the time and energy we can give it.

When teaching our children the Bible, we have a wonderful opportunity to shape how they view scripture. Our natural inclination is to see God’s words through a small, me-centered lens (ie. “What does this mean for my life?”). In doing so, we inadvertently make ourselves the main character of the story. Instead, we can make God the main character by viewing scripture through a large, God-centered lens. We do this by first asking what we learn about God, His character, His mission. When we keep God as the main focus of the stories we read and teach our children, we help them learn about God’s big story that flows from Genesis to Revelation.

As we are showing our kids in scripture about God’s mission to be worshipped by peoples from every tongue, tribe and nation (Gen 12:1-3, Hab 2:14, Rev 7:9), we can help them learn more about who those peoples around the world are.

Resources like The Joshua Project are a great place to start learning about people groups around the world and how much or little access they have to learn about Jesus. You can read that information together as a family and teach your children about these people in age appropriate ways.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:4-7

As we see in Deuteronomy 6, talking to our children about God is intended to be part of the ongoing rhythm of our everyday lives…when we sit at home, when we walk, lie down and get up. In all of these everyday moments of our lives, we can engage our children in spiritual conversations.

For instance, when your son brings you a flower, talk to him about who made the flower and that He cares for us even more than flowers. Or when you have dinner at your favorite Thai food restaurant, talk to your children about how God created all people and He longs for them to know Him, yet many people don’t have a way to learn about His love. You can then pray together with your children for unreached people in Thailand. As you learn about unreached people groups around the world, you can also invite other families to join you in praying for those people to come to know the Lord.

All of these things are simple habits that you can develop as a family and instill into your children at a young age. But like any habit, they take time and intentionality to incorporate them into your lives. Bringing these habits into the ways you disciple your children can begin to help them understand who God is, what He is doing in the world, and how their lives fit into His bigger story.

Recommended Resources:
Parenting with a Global Vision
The Big Story Series

About the Author

Tamara D. has been in vocational ministry for 25 years and currently serves in a Family Mobilization ministry. She has lived and worked globally, helping families find their most strategic role in seeing God's name proclaimed among the nations.