Disciplina |Latin|: order of life, knowledge in a field of study, discipline.
I was the guest speaker in a class today for Theology and Christian Ministry students. My subject matter was discipleship, which is very fitting considering the series we’re in. Specifically, my role was to facilitate a discussion about empowering families in their discipleship at home.
Let’s be honest. These kids are getting a four-year degree at a very high-quality Christian university. They’ll leave to become pastors, ministry directors, or work in the non-profit sector in a ministry-minded role. They’ll pay…a lot of money for this. This is no knock on the university. I’m still paying for my education. It’s not a political statement on cost of education, it just is what it is. And private universities cost even more!
So these kids will leave with a four-year degree to get *maybe* 2-3 hours a week with their people. I was speaking primarily to future youth pastors and children’s pastors. They’ll get a captive audience (they hope) for an hour or so on Sunday, and an hour or so on Wednesday. That’s if their church has multiple gathering opportunities and if families attend every week.
So, there are 168 hours in a week. Are they getting that degree in order to leave 165 hours of their student’s lives unaffected? Hardly. Much of their training needs to be spent in how to help their people connect with God in those 165 hours. How to give parents tools to lead their families. How to help parents feel confident to have deep spiritual conversations at home. How to be a resource so parents and kids can rely on them when the time comes, but how not to be crutch so that parents and kids take ownership of their own spiritual maturity and faith development.
If they’re spending $100,000 for three hours a week, they’re doing it wrong.
Discipleship, the process of being shaped into Christlikeness, is a daily investment. It’s disciplina, the way we order our life. I reminded them that they have to help their families understand that discipleship exists in every facet of our lives. Parents, when you discipline your kids, you have an opportunity to show them Jesus. When you celebrate with your kids: Jesus. When you lament with your kids: Jesus. When you do homework with your kids: Jesus.
Faith is more caught than taught. So, for starters, Jesus has to exist in our attitude and way of life. Our kids will become aware of the way Jesus seems to be at the center of everything we do. As our kids develop their own order of the way their life is put together, they will naturally put Jesus at the center of it, too, because that’s how they were raised. Discipleship is more than doing a Bible study together at home. It’s about forming our interactions around our relationship with Jesus.
But there are definitely some more formal aspects of discipleship that I talked with the students about. How to help parents feel confident to lead their kids in studying scripture, for one. How to help parents develop healthy devotional habits for their family. Disciplina is also knowledge in a particular field. So, yes, we order our lives around Jesus, but we also set aside time to learn and grow through regular avenues of study.
Last year, we developed this guide so parents could follow simple steps to lead their children in a bible study. This works with any age. Honestly, if we have adults who are learning to study scripture on their own, this guide would be very fitting.
The conversation about discipleship is broad and deep. It’s happening in the church. It’s happening in our universities. And hopefully, if we’re doing our jobs right, it’s happening at home! Families, it’s not too late. It begins with one conversation in which you point to Jesus, even in simplest way. Start there, and build on that. We’re here to help you along the way.