Discipleship in Community

This past Sunday I began a five-week ACE series called “Grow at Home.” It’s a series designed to equip and encourage parents to disciple their children and help them grow in their faith. As part of the class we looked at Deuteronomy 6:4-9 which reads:
” 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 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. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
In preparing for this class, I missed an important detail of the passage. My focus was on verses 7-9 and the call for parents to disciple their children and talk about the Lord all throughout the day. But did you catch how the passage starts? It begins, “Hear O Israel.” One participant in the class wisely observed that the beginning of the verse “Hear O Israel,” denotes a community aspect of discipleship. I couldn’t agree more.
Yes, parents are called to be the primary disciplers of their children. But this is best accomplished in community. All parents need the support of the church, of a faith community, as they disciple their children to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. That’s a two-fold challenge.
First, it’s a challenge to parents:
•What could it look like for you to increasingly disciple your children alongside your faith community at GRC?
•Are you part of a growth group where your children can build relationships with grown-ups in the church and see their parent(s) praying and studying the Bible in community?
•Do you take your children to Sunday school where they can learn to love God alongside their peers and have faith modeled for them by Sunday school teachers?
•Do you open up your home to families and adults in the church who will intentionally encourage you, challenge you and love your children towards ever increasing devotion towards Christ?
Secondly, church member, the challenge is also for you. You don’t have to be a parent to do this. How can you come alongside parents as they seek to disciple their children?:
•If you see a parent struggling, can you offer a word of an encouragement or a prayer for them?
•Will you consider volunteering in the youth or children’s ministry and walk alongside parents, becoming another voice that speaks Truth to their children?
•Will you build relationships with the families in our church, providing an example to their children of a Godly adult who loves God with all her heart, soul, mind and strength?
If you’d like to take the first steps of discipling your children alongside your faith community at GRC, won’t you join us for this ACE series July 1-22? We’ll spend time learning and being encouraged by other parents as they share how they’ve discipled their children at home. You may even sit next to someone new who will become a partner with you in this journey of community discipleship.

Karen Jacobsen, is our Director of Children Ministry and Refuge 686 (Foster and Adoptive Care).  She has visited 36 countries and looks forward to adding to this list in the near future.