People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. No, I did not come up with this gem of a phrase. Yes, I have heard this statement many times. And yes, I think this statement really captures the essence for the context of discipleship, especially as we disciple our own kids. Fish swim in water. Birds fly in air. Disciples grow in relationships.
“Fish swim in water. Birds fly in air. Disciples grow in relationships.”
Dallas Seminary professor Howard Hendrick once said, “You can impress people from afar, but you can impact them only up close.” I believe the best discipleship of children happens in the home. Local church ministry should support what’s happening at home, not replace it. Whether you think a healthy church builds strong families, or strong families help build a healthy church, family life and church life will forever be connected. To God, relationships matter. Christ’s disciples walked with Him for three years. Disciples are not made in a daily, but disciples are made through daily choices to follow Christ. For this reason, I have spent the last several weeks discussing what a disciple looks like, and I’ve shared with you a few foundational principles discipleship. While I’m still growing in my relationship with Christ, and I don’t claim to have all the answers, I do believer there are 5 Transferable Keys to Discipleship, that work in any and every situation. These foundational building blocks of discipleship spell out the word P.A.R.T.S. Today, I want to briefly address the third principle.
Part III of Discipleship – Relationship
1 Thessalonians 2:8
So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
Paul didn’t just encourage the Thessalonians with the words of the Gospel. He encouraged the Thessalonians with the works of his life. Discipleship was not simply a goal in life, but rather creating disciples in Christ WAS his life. If we want to have a genuine relationship with Christ, then we must also seek to have genuine relationships with the people we disciple. Here are three keys to connecting with your kids in relationship.
1. Lead with Authenticity, not Assertion.
One thing kids today do better than previous generations is spot a fake from a mile away. Don’t try to fake like you’re perfect. I believe discipline is important in parenting, but let’s remember that we make mistakes, too. Let your kids into your life. Being obedient is important for your kids. Being open is important for us to remember as parents. When you’re authentic with your kids, I believe they will follow you more closely.
2. Develop Victories Through Vulnerability
God came to make us courageous, not cowards. We are victors, not victims. God helps us through the dark valleys in our lives, not around them (Psalm 23). If you want your child to strengthen his faith, then share with them a time when you struggled with the same issue they are currently walking through. It can be scary to be vulnerable with your kids, but it will be scarier if your kids are never vulnerable with you.
3. Focus on Becoming, not Behaving
At some point, the boy sits down and the man stands up. At some point the girl sits down and the woman stands up. While parenting definitely has short term frustrations (especially when kids disobey or break our trust), we must remember that parenting has many long term benefits when we stay faithful to God, to our spouse, and to our kids. The end goal shouldn’t be a clean room, but a changed heart. Yes, there will be rules involved. But we must remember that rules were made for man, not man for rules. Rivers bring life to many areas of our country because they have simple boundaries and direction. I believe if we have direction in our parenting and simple boundaries to help guide our kids throughout the years, we will see better results and more disciples made. Help your kids become the men and women God has called them to be!
What did I miss? What are other ways you are building stronger relationships with your kids? I would love to hear your comments/questions/feedback by replying below or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make it a great week, and God bless!
High School Pastor
North Ridge Community Church