Dinner table discipleship

July 10, 2019

A few years ago our family decided to do a family devotional time at dinner. In the daily rhythms of our lives, it was a time where the entire family came together, sat down and talked. I would like to tell you it went perfectly every night, but that simply would not be the truth.

One night we discovered that my youngest daughter’s sudden eagerness for prayer time was not because she longed to boldly come before the throne of grace. Instead, she had observed that everybody’s eyes were closed during prayer and it would be a perfect time to feed the dog her vegetables.

There have also been times when my children suddenly decided they no longer liked a particular food, and the only appropriate way to express that was to have a nuclear meltdown at the dinner table. Needless to say, we did not have a particularly enthralling devotional time those nights.

While confession is good for the soul, I don’t share these things for my benefit, but for yours. You see, I think that one of the main reasons many families are not having an intentional time of family discipleship is because they feel inadequate. Oftentimes, this is because they never experienced a time like this growing up, which leads to unrealistic expectations of what is to take place. If that’s you, let me offer you three lessons that I have learned from my own imperfect attempt to teach my children to love the Lord our God with their whole being.

I think that one of the main reasons many families are not having an intentional time of family discipleship is because they feel inadequate.

  1. Our children’s salvation and spiritual growth are not dependent on our perfection.
    Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here. A parent’s walk with the Lord plays a tremendous role in their child’s spiritual formation. Therefore, do your best to be holy as He is holy. Yet, remember that it wasn’t your perfection that saved you, and it will not be your perfection that leads to your child’s salvation or spiritual growth. Rather, it is by the precious grace of God that we are saved through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). Instead of debilitating yourself with a burden that Christ has already borne, find rest, hope and encouragement in Him.
  2. Our failures can be powerful lessons.
    One of the most powerful lessons we can give our children is to show them how to repent of sin. We can do this only when we stop pretending to be perfect, which is why understanding the first point above is so important. The next time you sin against your child, perhaps by losing your patience and yelling at them in anger, choose an appropriate time to come back to them, confess that what you did was wrong, and ask them to forgive you. Use this time to remind them that we are all sinners in need of the grace and forgiveness that can only be found in Christ.
  3. Our faithfulness is more important than our feelings.
    Sometimes as parents, we feel like we are not getting anywhere with our children. I felt this way with my youngest when she saw our family prayer time as an opportunity to get rid of her vegetables! Yet, we have continued to make family devotionals an important priority in our home and, by the grace of God, my youngest is starting to truly seek Him in prayer. In our disciple-making at home, may we take to heart Paul’s admonition to “…not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).”


by Jamie Burkett  /  Minister to Students  /  Friendly Avenue Baptist Church

Think like a missionary

How can I think like a missionary?Missionaries live with a deep love and compassion for those who are far from God. They are burdened for those who are lost — those who are like sheep without a shepherd. They live by the words of Jesus when He said, “I have other sheep that are...

Why crisis & unrest should point us to prayerful hope in Christ

If ever there was a time when believers and churches needed to focus on God’s great hope in Jesus, it is now. The COVID-19 pandemic — along with all the racial, social, political, economic and spiritual unrest that has gripped our nation — has, in many ways, cast a cloud of...

Saved from war, man from Congo planting church in Raleigh

Rufus Muhirwe is tall, thin and soft-spoken. Look at this gentle man and you would never guess the years-long nightmare he endured before coming to Raleigh, N.C. He found that God was with him through those years. And the fact that Muhirwe is planting a new church is a testimony...

How families can mentor families to make disciples at home

There is an old saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” What if we took this same approach in discipling our families. No doubt, you have families in your church who are doing a phenomenal job discipling their...

Don’t miss the blessing of leading your child to Christ

Most churches stress the importance of passing the gospel on to future generations. We often refer to the family as a primary mission field. To emphasize this reality, we point to passages such as Deuteronomy 6:6-7a, which says, “These words that I am giving you today are to be in...

4 women’s ministry events for you and your church

“Pivot” is a new buzzword brought about by COVID-19, and it’s something every organization and ministry has had to do amid the global pandemic. The coronavirus has forced the cancellation, postponement, rescheduling or shifting of numerous events and conferences, and the impact...

NCMO helps demonstrate Christ’s love in word, deed

The year 2020 has been a year like no other in our lifetime. Events of this year have left many people hurting in numerous ways. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we should be compelled by the love He demonstrated for us through His death on the cross to love others, serve...

Baptists on Mission dedicates Charity Rebuild Center

Two years ago Hurricane Florence struck North Carolina with devastating force. Today Baptists on Mission (NCBM) dedicated its Charity Rebuild Center, a disaster relief ministry hub near Rose Hill, N.C. Since its founding in 2019, the site has been home base for volunteer teams as...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!