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Pass it on to the Next Generation


Matthew 28:19-20 —Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age. 

As parents we are very concerned about the development of our children. We want them to grow up with healthy bodies, curious minds, loyal friends, a growing sense of personal responsibility, and the discovery of their gifts and talents.  To this end we try to make sure our children are well fed, go to good schools, join athletic teams, learn hobbies, and have a circle of friends. Yet as followers of Christ we are also entrusted with the spiritual development of our children, assisting them to become faithful disciples of Christ. While Sunday school, youth groups and Christian camps can help develop children in their spiritual maturity, each individual family can lay an essential foundation, upon which others can build.

One day while talking to our young children we discovered what they actually thought we did as missionaries. They thought our ministry was basically going to the office, attending meetings and writing emails to people! We realized that our children were only seeing a part of what we actually do, so we thought we needed to do a better job of developing our children spiritually. Our starting point was to be intentional about their development as followers of Christ. Just as we would help new believers grow in their faith by discussing key topics, such as how to daily experience God’s love and forgiveness, we needed to do the same with our children. We thought about what they already understood and what they still needed to learn to effectively follow Christ. We regularly read and discussed the bible and Christian books with them. We asked them how we could pray for them in their personal lives. One of the best things we did was to include them in Christian activities that involved our whole family. For example when we invited people over for dinner who were not yet followers of Christ, our kids saw how we shared the gospel. We also took our kids with us when we on summer outreaches and tried to get them involved as much as possible.

Making disciples requires time in God’s word, the power of God and people who will graciously share their lives with others. The goal is having disciples in all nations, but it starts with individuals. What a great privilege to help develop your own children as such disciples!

Jim Samland

Cru Family Life, Eastern Europe

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