Dave is the head of youth ministries at St. Andrew’s Mount Pleasant.  We had a brief conversation a few weeks ago about the challenges facing parents in regards to family worship and discipleship.  Though Dave’s in ministry, my hunch is many of you will connect with his hurried life and frenetic schedule.  He offers some valuable insight on this very important topic.  Thanks for the contribution!

Family discipleship for me is a hot button topic right now. It seems that ever where I look there are 5 steps to discipling your kids, or the perfect plan to a time of family worship. I even found a 30 page manual on how to lead your family in a time of worship. It included this little gem… “If you have a difficult child, follow this simple rule: no scripture, no singing, and no praying means no food.” Now there’s an idea that won’t embitter the child against Jesus!

If I worked a nine to five down at the factory I’d jump at that kind of stuff (except the “no food” manual) because of the routine it offers. Routines are safe. The truth of the matter is that I don’t work down at the factory I work full time in youth ministry. Ministry, by large, is evening and weekend job so my nights with the family vary from week to week and season to season. When it comes to leading my wife and daughter to the cross here’s some things that I have found helpful.

  1. Lead do not push. This goes for anyone. I care more about my family at the feet of Jesus then if we hit our quota of quiet times this week. A little background for me personally is that I’m 29 got a hot wife and a cute daughter of 17mo. It’s taken me years to figure out the little ways I can encourage my family to treasure our time together seeking after Christ.
  1. It’s about movement not molding. For a long time I had in my brain a model of what my family should spiritually look like. How we should operate and what we should value. What I’ve come to find is that model had become an idol where I sacrificed things so we’d fit the mold. Then holding us in that mold took center stage. Where I have grown is that as we try different things we celebrate the growth and not the destination.  One recent growth we celebrated was as we sat down to a hurried meal together and started eating we heard the sweet voice of my daughter simply say “pray” and she lowered her head and folded her hands. This memory still brings a smile to my face.
  1. The “what” is not as important as the time. We must have tried a billion different family devotionals, couples prayer manuals, book studies, and reading plans but none of them ended up being the perfect fit. Either it was good for my wife and boring me to tears or feeding me and not my bride. Where we have landed is that we have learned that celebrating our differences is an act of worship. The time we spend seeking Christ together is what matters even if it is imperfect in content.

When my daughter was born it rocked my spiritual world in both an amazing way and a hard way. The times I treasured with scripture in the early mornings were now taken up with bottles and diapers. It was a hard lesson to learn that my relationship with my creator is more dependent on him then my ability to have a consistent quiet time. This goes for our family time as well. What works for us, for now, is as we get up and have breakfast we read a quick devotion together and pray before we start the day. This happens as best we can. It’s not a legalistic daily thing but it is a priority for us. The night’s I’m home when my daughter goes to bed my wife and I pray for her, us, and her future husband. It’s a simple format that we hold loosely. Two books I’ve found helpful as I’ve wrestled with this are P. Tripp’s book “The Age of Opportunity” and Bruce Ware’s book “Big Truths for Young Hearts”.

Why not pay Dave a visit over at his blog by clicking here.  Or you can always view him in the “friends” section of AwakeningGrace.

  1. liturgical says:

    The last point — the content is not as important as the time spent — has really come home to me lately. Think about it: if you were a child today, what if your father showed up in your room for five minutes each day and delivered an intellectually brilliant, doctrinally perfect exhortation, and then left you to yourself for the rest of the day? Often, it seems to me that one’s strongest relationships have more to do with what a person believes than with what argument or school of thought is available to him; no one develops systematic beliefs prior to having human relationships.

  2. […] “Family Worship and Discipleship” – Dave Libbon […]

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