The following article was written by Dianna Wiebe, creator of Grapevine Studies, for our “May”keover Month series:
Just a few days ago, I held a newborn grandson. It is always an amazing time when you hold a little one in your arms for the first time. I prayed the prayer I have prayed over each grandchild and at key events in my life, as have others over the centuries:
“Blessed art Thou, Oh King of the Universe, who has allowed me to live to see this day.”
Holding this precious little one, reminded me of my new role. My role of parent and discipler of my children has changed as the baton is now passed to the next generation.
As parents of four grown children, who are all actively serving the Lord in their chosen fields, my husband and I are often asked how we did it. We often point to Deuteronomy 6:4-7:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
Like the prayer above, Deut. 6:4 is a prayer that has been said by the Jewish people everyday for centuries, including our Savior, Jesus. When Jesus was asked what was the great commandment, He quoted from this passage. Verse four is a declaration of faith, verse five is a commitment to live that declaration, and verses six and seven explains how to disciple our children.
In our family we did not have a formal family worship time. My husband worked shift work or long hours, so we followed the Deuteronomy model to disciple as we went through life together. Our children grew up going to church, listening to Christian radio, seeing mom and dad study and teach, discussing spiritual things at dinnertime, and growing as a family in our faith. While it is certainly helpful to have intentional, deliberate worship or Bible study times that are scheduled, in our busy world not everyone has the liberty of having consistent schedules where this is a daily possibility. The important thing to remember is that no matter what we are doing throughout each day, we can (and should) incorporate our Lord into it! Each day has teachable moments – our job is to make the most of our teachable moments – whether we are sitting at home, walking (or driving) along the road, heading to bed, or starting a new day.
However, as summer approaches, you may have an opportunity to change your schedule and how you “do” discipleship in your family. It’s possible you may have more teachable moments over the summer. With longer days and more flexibility as children are out of school, there may be more time to incorporate more deliberate shepherding opportunities into your day. Here are a few recommendations of things you can incorporate into your shepherding routine over this summer:
Talk about it and choose together what you want to study this summer. Choose something in which each family member can grow in their faith. If you are family who loves music you may study the origin of the great hymns of the faith (www.colortheclassics.com might be a good option), or look at the lives of modern artists and pray for them as they tour this summer. Our family loves to teach, so we would choose a topic of study. If you are interested in fun Bible studies for children, you may want to consider Grapevine Studies: www.grapevinestudies.com. We originally wrote our studies for our children and grandchildren and have seen first had the results.
Keep it simple. Your family could choose to study a short book of the Bible, a specific person, or a topic. Summer is a great time to allow depth of study on a personal level while allowing the family time to be one in which study is the focus but where ideas for further study is ignited. Our Grapevine Studies products include studies on Ruth, Esther, and Joseph. One (or several) of these studies might be good places to start over the summer months.
Write it down. It is more likely that you will achieve your summer discipleship goal if it is written down and post it where the whole family can see it. This doesn’t need to end with summer, once you find what works for your family, you can continue it as you go through the year.
As You Go:
Take time to stop and look at creation, as you go ask your children what evidence they see of a Creator or the Flood. Time is never lost when we take time to observe creation and thank the Lord for the little things He has created.
Take time to pray with your children, not only before meals and at bedtime. Since we live in Wyoming, we spend a lot of time driving. When we drive into town, go to church, or begin a trip, we pray as a family. Even now, as we talk or text each other, we often ask, “How can I be praying for you?” But don’t stop there, be sure to discuss answered prayer, especially if you have younger children. All of us need to be reminded that God not only hears but answers our prayers. Similar to how I suggested you write down your summer discipleship goal, you may want to write down some of your prayer requests as a family, so that when you see God’s answers, you can point them out to your children and praise Him for His goodness and faithfulness.
Be deliberate about choosing events and trips that include aspects to help you and your children grow spiritually. While on vacation or over the summer months, choose a different kind of church to attend. Get to know believers in other denominations and allow your children to see different aspects of the body of Christ. Our children have attended conventions, workshops, and trainings with us. When they were teens we encouraged them to pursue training and opportunities to learn and serve.
When our children were teens, we saved together as a family went to Israel. It was a deliberate decision on the part of my husband and I to give our children roots. Part of our plan was to teach them and then to take them to see the land. To this day, our children point to that trip as one of the most influential events in their lives. That trip forever changed all of us and deepened our faith. Not every family can do that, but look for those things you can do this summer to give your children roots in the faith.
As the summer approaches, ask the Lord how you can make the most of your teachable moments over the next few months. Beyond the summer months, ask the Lord how you can disciple your children as you rise up and lay down, so that your children may be able to pray and live Deuteronomy 6:4-7.
Dianna has been kind enough to offer a special coupon code on Grapevine Studies products for Shepherd My Child readers who are interested in learning more about stick figuring through the Bible! Visit www.grapevinestudies.com and use code MayKing at checkout. This code will provide you a 20% discount off any products that are not already discounted. The code is good for products purchased through 6/30/13. Additionally, Dianna has been gracious enough to offer a free E-lesson to Shepherd My Child readers as well. You can find the E-lesson here:
I encourage you to take advantage of this great offer Dianna has generously given to Shepherd My Child followers! I have used several of her products (the Resurrection Traceable, the Ruth traceable, and the Creation to Babel lesson) and they are GREAT! I highly recommend them!
Thank you, Dianna, for your wise insight and suggestions to help us “may”keover our current shepherding routines and aid us in making the most of our teachable moments! We appreciate your participation in our “May”keover Month series!
Readers – Check back next Wednesday for the final post of “May”keover Month!