Why discipleship works best when churches and families work together

August 13, 2019

Today there are more resources and programs focused on teaching God’s inherent truth than ever before. More than any time in history, the church is well-equipped with the resources it needs to make disciples.

It is certainly true that pastors, leaders and teachers are directed by the Lord to offer discipleship opportunities with quality and excellence in churches. It is time for ministry leaders to roll up their sleeves and get to work equipping “…people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:12, NIV). Discipleship is the greatest investment ministries can make.

On the other hand, parents need to be fully engaged in discipling their children, taking advantage of the church’s discipleship resources. Parents have the opportunity to strategically and purposefully integrate their family into a local church that stands on solid biblical teaching and faithfully seeks the discipleship of all of its members.

How connected are parents with the discipleship opportunities your church offers? Most parents have the chance to engage in small groups, discipleship groups, mentoring groups and prayer groups in order to grow in their faith. However, the sad reality is that many parents have used the church not for their own spiritual edification but as a place to drop their kids off so that the paid professionals or generous volunteers can provide biblical education for their children.

Some parents are either not making an effort to disciple their children in their homes or aren’t sure where to start. This lack of teamwork must end. The church and the home need to work together as one. When the church and the family unit are unified, they can accomplish extraordinary things.

When the church and the family unit are unified, they can accomplish extraordinary things.

There’s a story about two farmers who entered their horses in a horse pull competition. The first farmer’s horse won by pulling a 700 pound sled. The other farmer’s horse finished second. The runner-up horse was only able to pull a 500 pound sled.

After the contest, the two farmers decided to hitch both horses together to see just how much weight they could pull together. Logically, one could assume that the two animals would be able to pull 1,200 pounds together. Amazingly, the two horses pulled the 1,200 pound sled with ease. The horses then pulled 1,400 pounds, then 1,600 pounds, and then even an 1,800 pound sled. The farmers kept adding weight to the sled and the two horses were able to astonish the crowd by pulling 1,900 pounds.

This is an awesome illustration of the importance of teamwork. God has designed the church and the home to come together as a team when it comes to discipleship. The church is commissioned to equip the saints and parents are given the privilege of being the primary disciple-makers of their children. When the two come together, God can do incredible things in our homes.

The church and the home have the potential to be the most viable and influential institutions for discipling kids when both work together as a team. To accomplish this objective, it is vital that parents become eager learners of the Bible, authentic doers of His commands and intentional teachers of Scripture to their children. At the same time, churches must do their part to equip parents to be influential and effective disciple-makers in their children’s lives.


by Mark Smith  /  
Family Evangelism and Discipleship  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

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