What does it look like to follow Jesus together as a family?

After years of being single—and only after a few years of being married, Martin Luther said, “Marriage is a far better school of character than any monastery.” (Can I get an “amen” from the married people?)

And if marriage isn’t challenging enough, try parenting.

Before we were married, my wife and I had seven keys to raising kids. Now we have seven kids—and no keys.

Following Jesus Together at Home
But make no mistake about it: Your first Disciplemaking Learning Community (DLC) is your home. Let’s call marriage, parenting, and grandparenting what they really are—disciplemaking. And while we’re keeping things real, let’s also admit that our homes are often the last place that feels like a DLC. 

God wants this to change.

The good news is that you need not be a perfect spouse, parent, or grandparent to make your home feel like a DLC. The moment you begin to try to live Deuteronomy 6:5-9 in your home you are on your way to following Jesus together as a family:
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commands that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, and 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.”
For our family right now, trying to apply Deuteronomy 6:5-9 means reading the Scriptures together and praying with our high school kids before they go off to school. (Note: Not every day and it takes less that 5 minutes. Sometimes my teenagers roll their eyes at me even while I'm praying for/with them. Just keeping it real here.)
  • It means taking time around our dinner table to engage a short passage of Scripture and to pray together (less than 10 minutes usually and again, not every day).
  • It means confessing and repenting of our sins against each other when one of us loses our temper or is less than loving.
  • It means having enough humility to laugh at our own idiosyncrasies—and not mind if others laugh along with us.
  • It means driving to church together and trying to not being out of fellowship with God and each other by the time we arrive.
  • It means learning to sincerely say, “I love you,” “Will you forgive me?” and “I forgive you.”
  • It means sitting on the deck at night enjoying a sunset and together as a family literally applauding God for his handiwork.
  • It means inviting our teenagers to consider God and his Word when they ask us to go see a movie that we’re not quite sure about.
We've got a long way to go in our family DLC and things are more often than not very messy. (Did I mention that we have seven kids?) But maybe stumbling forward is what a family that tries to follow Jesus together is supposed to look and feel like. It's just a thought.

If you're wondering where to start with your family—maybe try asking this question the next time you're all together...

What does a it look like for us to follow Jesus together as a family?

You'll probably get silence the first time you ask this question. Or you might get, "I don't have a clue." (Seven kids. I get it.) This could be where you take out a Bible and simply read Deuteronomy 6:5-9 and then ask the question above again. Keep digging deeper gently until some specifics are mentioned. But don't force it. If it totally bombs, try again another day. Have fun, keep it real, and laugh at yourselves. Then do something—any little step forward—like start praying this prayer together with your kids before they go to school everyday.

I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I've seen gentle persistence reap big benefits. And it seems to me that Deuteronomy 6:5-9 is all about gentle persistence.

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