The Family Devotions Myth

Posted by Matt Lane on March 17th, 2013 filed in Christian Living, Faith, family, Kids

I’ve heard several ideas about family devotions over the years and yet I don’t know anyone who actually does them. If you ask any Christian dad he will probably say that he should be doing them yet doesn’t. We all know we are supposed to teach our kids the Bible and that our primary responsibility as a parent is to help our kids become disciples of Jesus.

Some will say it will be painful but do it anyway. Others think that is sacrilegious and have a 9 part outline that they insist will keep the attention of their 3, 5 and 8 year olds. Still others don’t even try and just hope for the best. And that their kids “get” some Bible in them through osmosis of some sorts.str_eam

What I’d like to propose is something altogether different. I like to call it a stream of teaching.

But first, this let’s describe what I don’t want to do.

I really want to dispel the common idea of the shot in the arm type of learning being the primary source of discipleship.

This list might upset some but here is the list of shot in the arm learnings that are inefficient by themselves (or altogether):

  1. Sunday services (morning/evening)
  2. Sunday school
  3. Wednesday services
  4. Thursday family devotions
  5. Tuesday “visitation”
  6. Wednesday morning Bible study
  7. Small group meetings

I’m sure you might think of even more things.

Now I’m not saying those things are bad. I worship on Sunday with my church family and I am part of a small group. But those things are only a small part of what should be considered as discipling your kids.

You see, you are the example your kids have and will model their lives after you. Whoa, there is some weight. As a father, my family will follow me. They will follow me into mediocrity or into a passionate life in Christ. And most of all, I can’t outsource my responsibilities to my church, youth group, Sunday School teacher, grandma, or mother.

So instead of a once a week family devotion where I just pontificate, I like to have more of a stream. That stream includes traveling in the car, at the diner table, bedtime routines, holidays, memorizing scripture together, and yes Sunday services.

Discipling your kids should not be just appointments. Those are good and are needed. But effective discipleship happens during life. In life. Makes up life. Tacking it on like a patch will make their faith the same. Just tacked on.


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