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Family Discipleship

Barriers to Family Discipleship

If we seek to honor the Lord in our family, we can expect opposition. The world, the flesh, and the devil will fight us all the way. But identifying the opposition can help us fight it.

I was recently asked what I thought were common barriers to being a disciple-making parent. Here is my answer.

Family Discipleship Barrier #1 – Not knowing what to do 
One thing I hear from parents regularly is that they don’t know what to do. Parents can make discipling their child too hard, thinking they have to do a dozen different things all at the same time. Or they may freeze because they don’t know what exactly to do.

By studying the life of Jesus we can see that he made disciples as he went about life. How? He modeled the life he wanted them to live, he taught them, and he sent them out to do the same. The Disciple-Making Parent is intended to help train parents in all of these aspects of disciple-making.

Family Discipleship Barrier #2 – Fear
There are many fears as a parent. But here I am thinking about fear that my children will fall behind. As parents we will make all sorts of choices because we love our children. We want to bless them. We want to give them the best. But what is the best? It is the gospel.

We are surrounded by other parents who are not Christians.They also want to give their children the best. But that best does not include the gospel.

When we look at other parents, it is easy to feel fear that our children are falling behind. But each parent has to decide whether he is more concerned about his child getting into heaven or Harvard. We all have Harvards – those worldly successes we want for our chlldren. But we can only have one first priority.

So let’s parent by faith not fear and keep the gospel first.

Family Discipleship Barrier #3 – My own life at home
A third barrier can be our own sense of failure at home. Our children see the worst of us. So it easy to feel that I am not a very good follower of Jesus. We think, “How in the world could I talk to my children about Jesus when they have seen how I acted this week?”

The hardest place to live out the gospel is in our homes, but our children don’t need perfect parents. There aren’t any! Instead, they need to know that their parents see their need for grace from Jesus.

Family Discipleship Barrier #4 – Lack of accountability

All of us need help staying on track. Though we have the North Star to look at it, life’s storms and pressures pull us in a number of different ways. We all need others to journey with us. That’s why God has given us pastors, the church, and our friends. We travel the long journey together. We need friends who will encourage us in this journey.

Lack of knowledge, fear, my sin, and lack of accountability are all barriers to family discipleship. But the Lord has promised his presence as we seek to obey him.