Why Family Discipleship?

“If religion is not extended to the children, what will be the outcome?” —John Wesley

Why this book? Why family discipleship? There are tons of books on Christian parenting. Just take a walk through your local Christian bookstore and look around. Many of those books are immensely helpful, but few of them address the critical role that parents play in shaping children’s lives through family discipleship.

So what is family discipleship? Maybe you have never heard of the term or are not sure what it means. Let me begin by saying what it is not. Family discipleship is not a program or ministry of the church. Family discipleship is when parents help their children become disciples of Jesus Christ in the home through reading the Bible, praying, worshiping, and doing missions together (see Deuteronomy 6:4–9; 11:18–21; Psalm 78:5; Ephesians 6:4). I will unpack this definition of family discipleship throughout the rest of this book.

You may be thinking, “What are his qualifications for writing this book?” Well, the truth is, I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. Grow at Home is an introduction to family discipleship, written by a guy who wasn’t raised in church or in a family that practiced faith in the home. I have had to learn about it the hard way. In fact, I am still learning and I don’t have it all together. I have an amazing wife and three incredible little girls who have joined me on this crazy journey of faith. This book took shape around our dinner table, in our living room, and every evening in my children’s rooms. They were my guinea pigs.

In addition to being a husband and father, I was the pastor of a church that was full of young families with small children for ten years. Many of these young families were new to the faith. Some of them came from broken homes with divorced parents and needed parenting role models. One of my biggest challenges was helping them integrate their faith into the home. For these reasons, I have put into writing some of the things that we found helpful with discipling our children.

Family discipleship can be both fun and educational. I have written this book as a practical guide to family discipleship for families from all ages and backgrounds. It is for both parents and children. Each chapter begins with an introduction to the topic for parents to discuss and then concludes with a practical application of the material to share with your children, called “Grow at Home.” It is not like a book that you read from start to finish, rather, you can start in any of the sections and go back and forth as you choose. To get the most out of the book, you are encouraged to use the videos that correspond to different chapters to help you implement the ideas of the book at home with your family.

I invite you to begin the journey of family discipleship by using this book as a guide to help you incorporate your faith into the daily routines of your home. Join the movement that is happening in homes across North America as parents are rediscovering family discipleship. It starts in our marriages, by loving our spouses with the love of Christ. It happens by teaching, loving, and sharing our faith with our children. When we bring the gospel back into the home, it will spread through our neighborhoods and into the communities where we live. If every family in every church got serious about making disciples in the home, it would change our world. Let the journey begin!