You. Me. Every Christian. We are all called to make disciples. Most of us can look back on our lives and name at least several Christians who either discipled us or had a significant impact on us. Here is the question for us today: How many children do you know who are being intentionally discipled by a mature Christian? The children in our ministries need to be discipled, and they need to have several different “disciplers” in their lives:
1. The Parents: The parents are the primary spiritual disciplers of their children (Deut. 6:6-9). We see specifically in the life of Timothy just how vital this parental discipleship is, through the example of his mother and grandmother (2 Tim. 1:5).
2. The Church: Children need to be discipled by other Christians in the church body. A quick study of the New Testament church reveals that Christians in the local church would regularly meet and build each other up (Heb. 10:25; 1 Thess. 5:11). The Bible doesn’t exclude children from this. There is not an “age requirement” for being included in the local church. It is essential that the local church works together to disciple and build up the children in our church.
3. A Mentor: The parents and the church body are essential disciplers in the lives of our children, but we should not forget about the importance of mentors. We have two strong biblical examples of a mentor. The first example (and best example) is Jesus Christ’s mentorship of His disciples. Jesus purposefully spent time pouring into them, helping them grow and mature. The second example is Paul’s mentorship of Timothy, which shows the importance of intentional discipleship by mature Christians.
Our call as Christians is clear: Go and make disciples. To intentionally disciple a child is to equip them for a life full of Christian service, dedicated to the sharing of the gospel and the discipleship of others. Discipleship is vital for raising children and helping them grow spiritually.