St. Peter's Anglican Church
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Reflections

News & Reflections

Discipleship in the Home

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger,
but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
— Ephesians 6:4

Raising children to know Jesus. This is something every Christian parent aspires to do. Though the years go by, and our kids grow so quickly; before we know it, we haven't done much foundation building with regard to our Christian faith.

Some parents have the mind that religion and faith should be left to the church to teach. Or to wait for their children to start exploring things on their own, giving them the freedom to make their own choices. But that's not a biblical model - Christian faith is an all-consuming life-transforming faith. Abraham passed on his covenant relationship with God throughout the generations of his family. And Jesus inhabits every part of the Christian's life, including the home, the family, and parenting.

As a parent, you are the greatest influence in your kids' lives - not the church. It's your responsibility to use that influence to teach them about Jesus and the faith. Don't worry - they'll have plenty of time as an adult to make their own choices, if that's a concern. But equip them with the right tools and foundation for them to know Jesus.

Here are three simple things you can start doing at any time to "disciple" your children, help them grow in the faith. These three things were the standard model of Christian catechesis, or teaching in the faith, before an adult was baptized in the early church.

1. The Lord's Prayer

Teach your kids the Lord's Prayer. Memorize it. Pray it each night before bed, along with personal prayers. It is the most comprehensive prayer and the model of prayer Jesus himself taught us.

As your children grow older, you can unpack the prayer with them, looking at each line of it and considering what Jesus has commanded us to pray for. Teach your children to pray.

2. The Ten Commandments

This is the foundation of God's law and Judeo-Christian teachings.. Many adults can't even name all 10 commandments off the top of their head! Memorize the commandments with your children. Teach them how the first 4 are about their relationship with God, and the last 6 are about their relationship with other people. This is the foundation of knowing God's Word, His commandments, what is right from wrong.

As they grow older, you might consider teaching them the Sermon on the Mount as well, and how Jesus elaborates on the commandments in Matthew 5.

3. The Apostles' Creed

Finally, instill in them the essential doctrines of the faith expressed in the Apostles' Creed. This summary statement of Christian beliefs has been used since the early days of Christianity to teach Christian beliefs and defend against bad and incorrect teachings. The Apostles' Creed outlines the persons and roles of each member of the Trinity, is shorter than the Nicene Creed, and is fairly simple to memorize.

And again, as they grow older, you could unpack each statement within the creed and discuss its meaning and significance in our Christian belief and practice.

Beginning with these three things at home with your children will help build a spirit of family discipleship within your home.