I imagine that some of you may have had a first reaction just like mine:
Disciple my kids?
In the summer?
Who has time for that?
I definitely get it. We have five kids in our family, ranging in age from 8 to 16, and let me tell you, summer is busy at my house. With camps, sports, and vacations, the days and weeks can fly by. And before you know it, school is here again.
So, is it possible to see any spiritual growth in the midst of all the busyness?
After all, this is the time when our normal routines have been abandoned, and most of us aren’t going to spend hours each day reading the Bible as a family.
But what can we do?
How can we redeem this break and put it to work for the good of our children?
Here are four quick ideas:
1. Soak up some Scripture.
Maybe you’ll read the Jesus Storybook Bible together in the evenings. If you have teens, you could find a short Bible study to discuss each week over Starbucks drinks. My family loves to road-trip, and one of our favorite things is to turn on an episode (or five) of our church’s podcast for kids, Who’s in the Bible? It’s a great way to laugh and learn together.
2. Partner with Clear Creek.
I know, I know. You’re out of town more. I totally get it. But when you are in town, make being here a priority! Your kids are building friendships and developing a community of Christ-followers that will carry them through future challenges in their faith and fill those gaps that parents can’t. Ask them what they learned in Children’s Ministry. Send them to Student Ministry events. Even if it’s just kickball, those relationships really matter.
3. Pray with a purpose.
Take this opportunity to build some habits of intercessory prayer. You may typically pray together at dinnertime or bedtime, but I know it’s easy for those prayers to be focused on our families — how each child’s day has gone or the events of the week. This summer, look for ways to pray for people or groups who might not be on the radar of our normal routines. Each week, choose together! Maybe this week you’ll pray for each of our pastors by name; next week pray for Top 5 friends. Another week you might pray for local ministry organizations or nations where our partners are planting churches. Be creative! The goal is simply to reflect God’s heart and values as we come to him in prayer.
4. Model Christlikeness.
So often we think of discipleship in terms of information and habits. And those are important. But we’ve all heard it: more is caught than taught. Your kids are watching you! So take time to show love to a neighbor. Be kind to your spouse. Be patient with that relative at the family reunion (you know the one). And when you screw up, apologize. It’s not really about being a perfect example; only Jesus can do that. But when your kids see you sin, your repentance points them to the gospel. And when your kids see you suffer, your faith points them to Christ.
That’s what this is all about! Whether we’re reading the Bible, connecting at church, praying for others, or obeying God’s commands, our heart is simply to show them Jesus. Let’s do it together!