A friend recently sent me this article about being involved in the discipleship of younger men or women while you have young children and it hit home in a few different ways. Sometimes it’s easy to use the excuse “I’m too busy” or “I’m focusing on my kids right now”, I have said those two things multiple times. While it is important to guard your family time, at the same time using the excuse to avoid helping others grow in their faith can be dangerous.
This article is worth sharing and because I know that few people actually click on links in the middle of a blog post, over the next few days I will post the four part article for you to read here. This is a great read for anyone, not just moms and dads of young kids. Having a husband in student ministry I see the extreme importance of adults who serve as teacher and mentors for these students. Yes, parents are important in a student’s life, but just like the book “It Takes a Village” says, “It takes a village to raise a child…” There are so many people in churches with so much to give, but they chose instead to give into the excuses and never truly invest in a young person’s life.
We are quick to criticize teenagers these days. Issues like entitlement, disrespect, and laziness are common complaints about this generation. What if more of us invested in their lives instead of complaining about them? Let’s point our children to Jesus and raise a generation with passion, not for the things of this world, but for the hope of the coming King.
Would love to hear your thoughts after you read:
Discipleship is for Young Parents, Too. by Melanie Yong (www.domestickingdom.com)
As a mom of young children, I feel like I’m going, going, going all the time.
On a typical day, I have devotions to be done, breakfast to make, chores to supervise, reading to do, games to play, school to teach, lunch to make, diapers to change, dishes to clean, training to do, gospel conversations to have, naps to enforce, peace to keep, dinner to prepare, family bonding to facilitate, laundry to fold, and so on and so on.
Where in that long list of important activities can I find time or energy to disciple younger women? How much should helping other Christians grow factor into my daily plans? What could this discipleship look like?
Discipleship looks different in different seasons, and as a Christian parent who desires to see the gospel magnified, being a part of the growth of other Christians is a privilege and a necessity. When Christ came, he died for broken people. At the end of time, Christ will present his bride, the church, radiant and blameless to himself (Ephesians 5). There is no such thing as Lone Ranger Christianity!
Especially in a season of parenthood with young children (which itself can tend to be isolating and lonely) involvement in another believer’s life can refreshingly lift our gaze from the mundane tasks of the day to the bigger reality of what the Lord is doing to make a people for himself.
What do young parents have to offer to younger believers?
Because stay-at-home parents get the privilege of serving little ones day in and day out, often with little self-initiated appreciation, we get the opportunity to live out the gospel before watching eyes. As Christ came not to be served but to serve (Matthew 20:28), our dying to self to serve our children displays Christlikeness. As believers we are all being made more and more into the image of Christ by the grace of God.
Parenthood in the young years lends a unique crucible into which our selfish natures are refined to be more holy. That should be shared with others!
In the area of biblical womanhood, the “younger me” would have benefited hugely from a true picture of what young motherhood looked like. I loved children and wanted a family. But I think a realistic idea of the work involved in raising children and keeping the home would have informed some of the choices I made. I had an inflated view of what I could accomplish in my waking hours. I thought I could be a doctor, a pastor’s wife, and mom-extraordinaire all-in-one.
I spent a great deal of time shadowing doctors, but I didn’t initiate much to spend time with a mom. I think if I had, her life would have offered much wisdom to me as I considered what kind of degree I achieved, what career I pursued, or how much I financially invested in my education. Seeing a real-life picture of biblical womanhood and having realistic role models would have challenged my proud thoughts of being able to do all and have all and be all.
Discipleship should be happening in all seasons of life: dating, beginning a marriage, parenting young children, parenting teenagers, growing old, retiring. Each season brings its own freedoms and limitations. Because of the unique needs of young motherhood, discipleship will probably not look like formally sitting down with a younger woman and digging into the depths of Scripture for hours.
More likely this discipleship will happen in intentional conversations and pictures of gospel application facilitated by opportunities to correct children or pick up toys. You can pray for one another and lift each other before the Lord even with your two-year old wiggling in your lap. Being a young parent is not an excuse to not disciple younger believers, it is a reason to do so.
The way I see it…we should all be involved in some way with investing in younger christians. Maybe that’s teaching kids at your church or volunteering at an after-school program. Maybe it’s taking the time to get to know your own children’s friends. Or maybe it means deciding to mentor a high school or college student as they grow in their faith.
Next Up…Part Two: What are some reasons we don’t disciple as young parents? How does the gospel challenge these objections?