A Faith Path for Family Discipleship

faith path for families

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Introducing a faith path for family discipleship, from the HopeGrown Faith ministry.

Once upon a time, in a land not too far away, there was a farmer. The only thing this farmer had left in the world was a small garden and a fist-sized leather pouch of seeds.

But she wasn’t worried.

She had confidence that her soil was good. She had confidence that the sun would shine and the rains would come and in due time, she would receive a harvest many times bigger than her small leather pouch could hold.

So she borrowed a spade and turned the soil, chopping up clumps, pulling out stubborn roots, and sprinkling in some compost. Then she borrowed a hoe and made neat, straight rows in the dark, moist soil. 

hand seeding faith

Last, she pulled out her prize possession: the small leather pouch of seeds. She sprinkled them into the furrows and brushed soil over top. When she had covered the very last seed, the leather bag was empty.

But she wasn’t worried. 

Each day she went to check her garden. Sometimes a bird would come to peck a seed out of the soil and fly away with it.

But she wasn’t worried.

She stood watch, making sure the birds didn’t take too many. 

After a week, the first tiny shoots came up. But they weren’t all from the seeds she had planted. It was hard to tell at first, but as they grew larger, she could spot the difference between the weed sprouts and the desired sprouts. Gently, she pulled out any weeds that could come out without uprooting the tender sprouts beside them. Some would have to stay until the sprouts were larger and could withstand more tugging.

But she wasn’t worried.

Then she noticed one section where the sprouts struggled to come up. She dug her fingers into the soil and discovered many rocks in that corner of the garden. The sprouts that grew here would need to grow extra sturdy.

But she wasn’t worried. 

The rains came and the sun shone and her soil was good. 

The sprouts grew and their stems lengthened and their leaves unfurled. 

And in due time, they produced seeds of their own, a full harvest that was many times bigger than her small leather pouch.

But she wasn’t worried.

harvest of faith

She was called to sow those seeds, but she had confidence in the One who controls the weather. She cared for her seeds with consistency, creatively responding to struggles that came up. 

Likewise, we as parents are called to sow the seeds of faith in our children, but we can have confidence that the One who began a good work in our families will carry it onto completion. We must nurture those seeds of faith through consistent habits, but we also need to be creative in the way we present faith to our kids, and the way we deal with struggles.

prayer activities for kids to do with parents

In the parable above, the results weren’t up to the farmer. She couldn’t make the birds stop pecking or the weeds stop growing or pulverize the rocks.

“For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.”

Isaiah 61:11 (NIV)

God is the one who makes righteousness and praise spring up like a sprout from the soil, but someone had to put the seed there in the first place. 

Is that person a Sunday School teacher? Sometimes. But I believe the best person to sow the seeds of faith in our children and to cultivate them to fruitfulness is the person who’s with your child the most: YOU. The parent, grandparent, or guardian.

No matter who you are, how long you’ve been following Jesus, or how many faith questions you have, God has given you, as parent or grandparent, the mandate to teach your children of His mighty acts.

  • I believe that you can develop the confidence that you are following your calling as spiritual leader even amidst your busy life.
  • I believe that you can connect with your kids and with God in an authentic way.
  • I believe that guiding your children into a relationship with Jesus can be more than just an item on your to-teach list.

But with so many books and blog articles and podcasts, how do you know where to start? 

Start with the faith path.

Growth phases

The stages in this family faith growth path are all about helping you, as a parent, start small habits that grow, and focus on ideas that will truly make a long-term difference in your kids.

Spend some time figuring out which stage you are in, or if you’re straddling several stages, which milestones and action items you have already taken. 

The clearer you are on which growth stage you’re in, the better you’ll be able to see where you want to go. And the growth path is here to help you with specific milestones  and action items to help you grow from one stage to the next. 

Read more specifics about the stages here.

But it’s not JUST about them.

It’s also important to be growing in faith yourself, because in all the verses in the Bible about teaching the next generation or teaching our kids, it always starts with our own faith. We have to praise Him and serve Him and love Him if we are to truly lead our children. That doesn’t mean our faith-life is perfect. It just means that it’s there.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

First, we love the Lord. The commandments are on OUR hearts.

Then, we impress them on our children by talking about them at home, on the road, when they lie down, and when they get up.

The values of the HopeGrown Faith family discipleship ministry:

The 4 values of HopeGrown Faith are Calling, Confidence, Consistency, and Creativity. 

  1. Your highest calling in life is to follow and love God, and part of that calling is to teach your children to follow Him.
  2. You can do this with full confidence in God’s goodness, because He is responsible for the outcomes. 
  3. You teach your kids with consistency, because developing small, simple habits is the best way to help your family grow in faith.
  4. And you can do with great creativity because each of your children are different, and your family is different from my family.

Who am I to tell you this?

I worked in children’s ministry for about 15 years, and after a few years, I discovered the power of the Faith at Home movement. This small group of people were struggling to be heard amidst all the kitchy Sunday School lessons at conferences, but their message was powerful: parents have the most time with kids. Parents are the primary spiritual caregivers in the home.

They taught me that I needed to spend a lot more of my “children’s ministry” hours on equipping families. So I started doing that. Through the years this became more important for me since I can see the impact it has in my own family. (Here’s a picture of us!)

family discipleship in my family

Over the past few years I’ve self-published one book, released two with a major Christian publisher, and written for several major websites (including Focus on the Family and For Every mom) as well as here.

If you’d like to know where you are on the faith path, you can take the quiz! And if you find you’d like more resources to help grow from one stage to the next, check out HopeGrown Faith.

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