How are you modeling discipleship at home?
By Karen Blanchard
Special to the Baptist Beacon
I am a mom with two amazing children. Nathan is 15, and Abigail is 9. Over the years my role as their mom has looked different for whatever season of life they were in.
With each new developmental stage, I am learning how to adjust to meet their needs.
When they were babies, they literally depended on me for food and survival.
As they began to grow, they have become more and more independent.
My 15-year-old likes to think he doesn’t need me at all, but he does … he just might not realize it!
No matter what stage of life our children are in, our greatest responsibility is leading them to the heart of Jesus.
Discipleship begins when they are young.
The songs we sing and the books we read all play a part in shaping our children’s hearts. Church plays an important role in the lives of our children, too.
It teaches them from a very young age what matters most in life.
As culture changes and more and more things compete for our attention, parents have to make a choice about how to lead their children.
What is the message your children are receiving from you?
Do you make it a point to be in church every Sunday no matter what? Do you choose to only go to church when it is convenient with your schedule?
Do you constantly put sports or other activities over church?
The last few years my heart has been burdened in the area of discipleship.
However, God has shown me I need to disciple my children first.
“And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.
“Repeat them again and again to your children.
“Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
“Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders” (Deut. 6:6-8).
Live it out
Life can be very busy, and this is something we have to fight for.
Find a great devotional that is geared for the ages of your children and begin to teach them what it looks like to have a quiet time with God.
Take the time to pray with your children on a regular basis.
Encourage them to journal their thoughts and feelings to God. It is also important for us as parents to model this for them.
Let them see you sitting with God and reading the Bible.
Share with your children what God is teaching you and let that become part of your regular conversation.
About a month ago my son was going through a tough time.
And I thought the toddler years were bad.
I am learning that every stage has its challenges; the challenges are just bigger as they get older.
As we walked through these hard days with him, God gave me insight into what he was going through, and it allowed us to have some really great conversations.
I was able to share with him how God helps me through tough times and how he has taught me to shift my mindset when I feel down about something.
My greatest desire for my children is not to just know about God, but to truly know Him in their hearts. I want them to realize there isn’t anything they can ever do that will make God love them any less.
When life seems overwhelming, I want my children to know they can run to Jesus and not the things of this world.
The only way we can help our children get to that point in their relationship with God is by being intentional in the way we disciple them and by surrounding them with a community of believers that will pray for them and lift them up.
Proverbs 22:6 says to “start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Never too late to start
You can begin by reading a family devotional at night before bed and praying with your children. This can be a great time to let them share what is on their hearts.
If we don’t teach our children how to do this, then who will?
Our children are always learning and growing.
Would you rather them learn how to grow closer to Jesus or be influenced by the world?
Our first and most important role as parents is to disciple our children to know Jesus.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Karen Blanchard and originally appeared in the Baptist Beacon of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan.
Baptist Children’s Village
By Sean Milner
Baptist Children’s Village, Mississippi
If this dollar finds company enough to effect a movement, you will hear from me again.”
Those were the words of Lou Moore from Tillatoba in response to L.S. Foster’s inquiry as to whether Mississippi Baptists should provide a place for hurting children.
Her dollar did find “company enough to effect a movement” that has now lasted 125 years.
The Baptist Children’s Village was not an easy ministry to start or continue, but God has been, and continues to be, faithful, using many to accomplish His work.
When God called Foster, pastor of First Baptist Church Senatobia, to create a home for children in need, Baptists showed up.
In July 1905, Mrs. Dora Greenlaw of Hazlehurst wrote, “But again and again, with ever increasing force came the question: Have we filled up the measure of our opportunities? No, no, not yet. But the future is rich in promise. Behind the movement to provide for our children lies the great Baptist heart of Mississippi, and back of that God.”
The first child entered the Baptist Orphanage on May 12, 1897, and thousands of workers — house parents, case managers, campus directors, and administrative staff — have served all the children and families since.
The number of children and families whose lives have been impacted by the good news of Jesus Christ is not calculable.
It is a joy and honor to serve with you.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Sean Milner is executive director, and a former 18-year resident, of the Baptist Children’s Village.
“He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30
In an increasingly divisive world, the local church should be a model of cooperation.
Pastor Bobby McKay
Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Brookhaven, Mississippi
“I personally know 20 pastors who have been killed, and 2,000 churches have been destroyed in my country in the past 10 years,” explained Zamani Kafang of Nigeria, who spoke about the persecuted church in Nigeria. “We need America — the champion of freedom — to pressure our government to help. … Christians face persecution in employment, admissions and promotions, and sometimes the enemy kills believers and destroys entire villages.”
“We fed everyone from the homeless to gutter punks, train kids to millionaires who owned houses in the French quarter,” said Dustin Taylor, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Snead, Alabama, who has taken missions teams to New Orleans to share Christ for more than two decades. “And when people asked why it was free, we told them about how salvation is a free gift.”
“Our chaplains will offer a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, an encouraging word and an offer of prayer,” said Mickey Lenamon, Texas Baptist Men executive director/CEO, regarding the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. “They serve as a reminder to the community that people care about them and God cares about them.”
“The songs and the way we design our set is designed to lead people through an experience that hopefully brings them closer to the Lord,” said Andrew Bergthold, a singer/songwriter with We The Kingdom.
While we may be discouraged about events unfolding around us, whether they be global, national or personal, we can rest in God’s sovereignty and faithfulness. We can rest in His goodness.
“The aim of our preaching is to teach our people how to read the Word for themselves,” said Juan Sanchez, pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, who preached the convention sermon at the recent SBC Annual Meeting.
“It is healing to help others even when you don’t think you’re ready. God equips you. He calls you and equips you,” Jami, a mentor for Camp Agape California, a ministry for children whose parents are incarcerated.
“Anytime someone comes to faith, it’s a miracle to see the work of God in their life,” said Molly Petry, an International Mission Board worker.
From the Twitterverse
By honour and dishonour, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace, by all these things is the life of your souls maintained, and by each of these are you helped on your way. —C.H. Spurgeon
A church doesn’t rise because of the talents of her pastors, the competencies of her attendees or the excellencies of her programs.
A church rises when dependent believers lower themselves in prayer and seek God in all things.
If the “god” you worship never tells you “no,” it’s a god you’ve made up.
Stop shopping for the perfect church. Instead, get plugged into a congregation that is worshipping a perfect God.
It’s guaranteed to be full of imperfect people that need as much grace as you do!
While Christians have a common set of beliefs, we have an uncommon set of callings. Some are called to more public ministry, others to more quiet vocations, some to focus on specific issues, others to a more general focus. We need grace and appreciation of others’ gifts.
When I was younger, I was especially moved by hymns and worship songs that focused on the cross and resurrection. While this is still the case, the older I get the more I am moved by songs about the Second Coming of King Jesus. Maranatha.
You don’t have to love sin to be worldly, you just have to love stuff.
If I’m filled with myself, almost anything can irritate me.
When I’m filled with Jesus, almost nothing can irritate me. Anger reveals the conflict inside you (James 4:1). Kindness reveals peace inside you (Prov. 14:30).