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When I first started this ministry over eleven years ago the question on the mind of parents was, “Am I really responsible for discipling my children? That’s why I bring them to this church. It is their responsibility.”

By God’s grace and his Spirit, that question has changed. Now, the question from most parents goes something like this, “I know I am responsible to pass the faith to them. But how do I do it?”

I answer this question in both The Disciple-Making Parent and in the conferences I conduct. But I want to take some time in these emails over the next months, to spell out the how of family discipleship.

Specifically I focus on 7 commitments that parents should make. In this email, let’s think about the first commitment.

The first commitment I believe God wants from us is this:

Make the Great Commission the North Star of your parenting.

The first commitment has nothing to do with what we do. It has to do with our heart and where we are aiming

The parents in our culture tell researchers that their biggest goal for their children is that their adult children would be successful and happy. As a result parents are rushing from activity to activity. And while nothing is wrong with some of these activities, the question remains, “Where are Christian parents aiming?”

Biblically, God has not just given us a baby but an eternal soul that will live forever. Our greatest hope is that our children would love and follow Jesus Christ. 

We should be able to echo the words of the apostle John, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth (3 John 4).

We realize that Jesus gave all his disciples what has been called the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). That we are go to and make disciples of all nations. The best way we can love a person is by telling them about Jesus and helping them spend eternity with him. As a result churches reach out across their town and across the oceans. However, we cannot forget that the Great Commission also starts at home. 

That means that my priorities as a parent are going to be a little out of step with the world’s priorities. 

So will you make this first commitment? Can you say, “The North Star of my parenting is the Great Commission?”

Practical Applications
How do we apply this practically?  Let me make two suggestions.
1. Evaluate your activities. Every activity comes with a cost. If you want unhurried time to talk about the Lord or to tuck young children in, then don’t overcommit. And if you have overcommitted, have the courage to cut back. 

2. Tell your children you love Jesus Christ.
 Men, look your children in the eye and tell them, “I may not have ever told you this but I want to tell you now. I love Jesus Christ. I hope you will too. If you love and follow him as an adult that would make me the happiest dad in the world.”

Want to think more about this topic?
1. Read chapters 1, 2, and 3 in The Disciple-Making Parent. Or listen to those chapters on the free audiobook. Email us here to get your free audiobook if you don’t already have it. 

2. Listen to these short (5-8 minutes) podcasts on our audioblog.
— How Do Children Make Their Faith Their Own?  Apple Spotify
— Parents, Follow this North Star  Apple Spotify