Planning for Spiritual Growth in your Family

A new school year is here.  Soon we’ll be attending Back to School nights where we’ll look to our children’s new teachers and expect to hear a plan of what our child will learn this year.  Can you imagine your child’s teacher admitting she has no plans?

 None. 

You’d ask, “What will your class study?” 

“I don’t know.”

“What books will you read?”

“I haven’t really thought of that?”

“What will our kids learn?”

“I am not really sure, but I’m sure they’ll learn something.”

You would run right?  You’d run directly to the principal and make sure your child was assigned to a different teacher.   With no plans, it’s pretty clear that teacher has planned for no growth. 

Yet if I were to ask you, “What is your family discipleship plan this year?”  Would you have an answer?   Do you know what you want your child to learn?  Do you clearly know what books of the Bible or faith resource you are going to use?

With no plan, we are planning for no growth.

I know it is intimidating to create a spiritual growth plan.  Just saying it makes it sound like something for seminary students.  But it doesn’t have to be complicated.  Through answering the following three questions you can create an effective plan for your family.

1.  When?  When will our family have intentional discipleship time together?

Family discipleship should happen 3-5 times a week for 10-15 minutes.  Many families find tying discipleship to daily routines make it an expected and anticipated time. Our family uses breakfast.  Five days a week during the school year we have a 5-10 minute devotion and prayer time.  Several of the families in my church use bedtime as their time.  Find a time that can work consistently for your family, and put it on your calendar. 

2.  What?  What do I hope my children will learn?

Keep the end goal in mind.  What do you hope your children will learn in the next three months, six months, one year? 

Your answer might look like one of these:

I want the kids to learn more about Jesus.

I want my kids to understand how we should behave and treat each other.

I want my kids to understand the history of God’s people

You may have NO idea what this answer should be.  The incredible thing about the Word of God is that it is ALL good and achieving any of these statements would be great.  (and certainly better than doing nothing.)  Once you have identified your “what,” or your goal, write it down with today’s date. Keep it as a reminder of what your goal is so you can stay on the path you have chosen.  It is a wonderful thing to look back at such goals and see progress.

3.  How?  How will we reach our goal?

So now you have a plan for the when and what.  It might look like this:

Sunday through Thursday we will spend 10 minutes together at bedtime.  Over the course of a year I want my children to learn more about Jesus. 

There is one last question you need to answer.  How are you going to reach your goal?  In other words, what resource are you going to use?  The Bible is the natural answer to this question.  Reading from the Bible daily is a habit every parent should hope to instill in his or her children. But what books of the Bible will you use to reach your goal?  If you want them to learn about Jesus, plan to read the Gospels.  If you want them to learn about how Christians should live and treat each other, plan to read through some of the epistles.  For younger children a picture bible may work well.  Reading a story a night through the Storybook Bible would be a wonderful way to spend a year with preschoolers.  Reading through The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel might be a great resource for teaching teens about apologetics.  Pick a specific resource for your goal. 

Now your plan might look something like this:

Sunday through Thursday we will spend 10 minutes together at Bedtime.  I want my children to learn more about Jesus.  We will read one chapter a night from the Gospels in order starting with the Book of Matthew.

Entering the year with a simple, yet well thought out plan such as this will help your family make sure this year will be a great year of family discipleship.    

Would you like some resource help?  Subscribe to The Celebrated Family and I will send you a free printable family devotion guide for the school year.  Our Salvation and Song will take you through the Gospels and Psalms one chapter at a time.