by Pastor Craig Maart
In CORE we use the mission of Hershey Free Church as the foundation for everything we do. This mission answers the question, “Why does CORE exist?” We are about making disciples who live with Jesus, love like Jesus, and lead others to do the same.
With this in mind I want to offer some help, motivation, and encouragement that we as parents need in working to help our kids become disciples of Jesus. The time we spend with our kids decreases the older they get. Therefore, we need to make the time to invest in what we are sending out into the world. CORE is a partner with you in this process, but there is no way we can replace you. Current statistics and trends show this again and again. The church is not nearly as good at making disciples of students as their parents are. This is good news! It is cool to know that God designed this innate desire in your kids to learn from you.
Joanna and I had the privilege of being with both our kids when they accepted Jesus as their Savior. Our home was filled with Christian music, attempts at family devotions, conversations about spiritual things, and bedtime Bible stories—with dad’s embellishments of course. But there was no real plan to specifically guide our kids as disciples of Jesus. As our kids began to grow up, I became convicted at how little we were actually doing to disciple our kids now that they were saved. As a Student Pastor I was doing that with other people’s kids, but it was not happening on purpose in our home. Therefore, I decided to seek God for what he wanted our family to focus on as disciples of him. I prayed and looked to Scripture for God to direct the Maart family to be disciples of Jesus with distinctness as men and women who would follow his design.
God led me to establish a Maart Family Purpose. Our kids came up with the acronym LETS:
L—Love Everyone as God Loves
Ephesians 5:2—“Live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
E—Endurance (never quit, evaluate commitments, finish the job)
2 Timothy 4:7—“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
T—Truth of God and Honesty (We live according to the truth of God and are completely honest.)
Psalm 86:11—“Teach me your way, LORD, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”
S—Servant Leadership (Lend a hand before you ask for a heart.)
Mark 10:45—“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The Maart Family Purpose was introduced to our kids while vacationing in the beauty of the Black Hills. We spent our evenings talking through each part of our purpose. I’ll be the first to admit I was fearful that our kids would think this was stupid. After all, no kids ever think their parents’ ideas are stupid, right? We were thrilled when the kids really got into it. It became our family adventure.
On their thirteenth birthdays, I went through what I called “Pillars of Godly Manhood and Womanhood” with my kids. I had developed these pillars after going through a men’s Bible study called Raising a Modern Day Knight. We did a ceremony, launching them on their quest to live as a man or woman of God.
On their sixteenth birthdays, we took them on overnight trips to continue the conversation, talk about how we thought they were doing, and encourage them to keep going in this process.
We have a painting of our family purpose hanging inside our front door, and the kids have reminders on the walls in their rooms. These serve as constant reminders of what God has called us to be as his disciples. The truth is, nothing about this process has been easy. But we decided the effort was worth obeying God in “training up” our kids. Even through the tougher times, it has been so good.
The goal of this article is to encourage you become very intentional with how you are discipling your kids. What characteristics are you trying to establish in your kids before they leave your house? The earlier this process is started, the better. However, it is never too late. Your kids are craving loving leadership and direction to be what God created them to be as his children and as a man or woman of God.
If you would like to talk about any of our established pillars or ceremonies, please contact us. We would enjoy the conversation. I have given you our personal examples. Hopefully this will give you an idea as to something you can do to put a process in place with your own family.
What this process did for us:
- It unified our approach to parenting our kids.
- It freed us up to focus on fewer, more specific characteristics.
- It gave wonderful tracks for our kids to run on.
- It provided confidence in our kids, as they knew what we were going after as a family.
What we want to recommend to you:
- Get started or keep going with your plan.
- Stick with it.
- Keep praying.
- Have fun with it.
- Keep your kids involved in the process.
- Get other people to help you.