Discipleship at Its Hardest: The Home
“The most important way we disciple our families is by being disciples.”
“Home discipleship is not flashy; it forces us to practice the discipline of hiddenness.”
While the home is the strongest and most natural place for discipleship to occur, it is by far the most challenging place to do it well. Several reasons are at play:
The discipleship of our families just happens. We are apprenticing our spouses and kids into some kind of life. It happens every day whether you want it to or not. So, if you are not a disciple yourself, you will never be able to disciple others to become disciples. The most important way we disciple our families is by being disciples. This is wonderful news, because Jesus has made it completely possible to follow him—to be near Him and to become like Him—in your life. If you do nothing else, be a Christian, one who knows the content of who Jesus is and what He commands, who watches His life and imitates it, and who immerses himself or herself in the shared life of Jesus’ followers in order to become like them. Without being a disciple yourself, nothing you try at home will work. And it’s for this reason that it’s most difficult to make disciples at home.
Our families are keenly aware of any dissonance between the message (content) we proclaim and the shape of our daily lives (apprenticeship and immersion).
In addition, the home is also the place of discipleship that receives the least immediate gratification, at least for parents. As parents, our kids simply expect us to disciple them in all the many ways that it happens. Because it is expected, it is just “the norm.” Our kids rarely think to thank us for doing what we are already supposed to be doing, and they probably won’t until they are well past their twenties, if at all. That’s just the way it is. Not only that, but few people outside of our homes will notice or praise us for our efforts either. Home discipleship is not flashy; it forces us to practice the discipline of hiddenness.