GOSPEL PARENTING RESOURCES
Ways to Disciple Your Children in Grace
1. Lead them towards repentance: Guide them to name their sin when apologizing to friends, family, or whomever they have sinned against. It’s not enough to have them say sorry but to learn to name their sin. Use this as an opportunity to confess your sin, too, and point them to Jesus. Pray for the Spirit to give them new hearts!
2. Repent with them: Allow your kids to hear you repent of your sin and seek forgiveness. This is especially helpful when you have sinned against them. Tell them why you need Jesus, and how the gospel frees you from your need to sin.
3. Point back to the Gospel: While everyday life is unfolding around you and your children, take the time to show them the Gospel is there. The way they play, nature, books, or TV can all be used as tools to point to Christ.
4. Pray together: Circle around and have children pray for their siblings. Often the pattern is for the kids to simply listen to their parents pray. Take requests and pray for each other. Allow your kids to also pray for you. And pray the good news, always thanking God for the gift of his Son!
5. Provide a good age-appropriate Bible for everyone: Here are some good resources. . . . MY FIRST BIBLE STORYBOOK: Ages 2-4 (Concordia, 2011), THE STORY BIBLE: Ages 3-8 (Concordia, 2011), 120 BIBLE STORIES: Ages 8-12 (Concordia, 2012), or FAITH ALIVE STUDENT BIBLE: Ages 10 & UP (Concordia, 2011).
6. Read the Bible together: Engage in the Bible as a family. This can be both as a group and all reading the same stories individually.
7. Ask Good Questions: Lead your children in discussion. You can do this by asking some simple questions about each Bible story: What did this story say about God? What did this story say about people? How did this story point towards Jesus? How do our lives connect to this story?
6 Ways to Discipline Towards the Gospel
It happened again. He hit her, she bit him, and now it’s time to discipline. It seems that parents either fall off the side of doing little to nothing or the side of anger induced behavior modification. Both of these approaches leave the gospel outside of one of the most important parts of raising children. How we discipline can be used to point your child’s heart towards Christ.
1. Prepare your heart: Many times we respond in anger to our child’s sin because either we are in shock of their depravity or their actions are directly interfering with our plans, comfort, and schedules. Take some time to remind yourself that not only is your child a sinner who needs a Savior but you are, too. The sin that you are so agitated with caused the same separation with God as yours. You both have the same desperate need for the same glorious Savior.
2. Choose correction that is appropriate to the child: Every child is different at different times. Each child responds to correction differently at different stages of their life. Be willing to be flexible. Spankings may be effective for your middle child but not your firstborn. Time outs may be effective for your 3 year old but not when they are 5. Learn and grow with each of your children.
3. Make the connection from the behavior to sin and pain: “When you hit her you sinned. Your sin caused her pain. Sin always causes pain”. Your discipline is a tool to remind your child that sin causes pain and obedience is freedom and safety. A spanking, time out, or loss of a privilege connects your child’s action to the consequence of pain. This is an opportunity to show them that sin always causes pain.
4. Transition to the good news: The ultimate consequence of sin has been taken, conquered, and destroyed through the power and work of Jesus Christ. You can rejoice with your child that they may be feeling the pain of sin but God the Father sent the Son to pay the debt of sin and break the power of sin. The Son then sent the Holy Spirit so we can be new creations. Through the power of Christ we can choose to say no to sin and worship God. Your discipline can involve rejoicing.
5. Pray for your child: Pray that their heart would be soften and they would see God’s pursuit of them. Also teach them how to pray for themselves in confession, repentance, and joy. This is a great opportunity for training.
6. Be actively involved in community and living on mission: The goal of discipline is to point the child’s heart towards Christ, his Family, and his Mission. This has to be done continually through their day with multiple voices. This takes a community of people who will lovingly speak the Truth to your child.
[Special thanks to our brothers and sisters in Christ @ Soma Communities]