Many parents know instinctively that scripture calls them to be the primary disciple-makers of the home, but they tremble at the idea of playing the role of spiritual leader.
“Parents today are very busy, and their plates are always full,” says Mark Smith, senior consultant for the new Faith at Home N.C. ministry of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC). “They often view church as a place where they can come and drop off their children to receive the spiritual education and training that they need.
“But God’s Word is very clear in saying that it’s the parents’ responsibility to be the primary disciplers of their children.”
Smith’s vision for the convention’s Faith at Home N.C. ministry is to work with pastors and church leaders to develop a family disciple-making strategy whereby the church equips parents and grandparents to fulfill their God-given roles as disciple-makers in the home.
“As churches refocus their ministries to come alongside families and equip them, parents and grandparents will discover how they can point their children and grandchildren to Christ and then help them grow in their faith,” Smith said.
For Smith, equipping families to make disciples in the home is not only biblical, it’s also personal.
Smith joined the convention staff last fall after serving for more than two decades in local church ministry as a student and family pastor. He was in his 20th year as a student pastor, when Smith said God graciously revealed to him a missing component of his ministry efforts.
“I was enjoying what many would consider ‘success’ in ministry, but God began to show me that something was horribly missing,” Smith said. “For some time, I could not understand what I was overlooking. Then the Lord revealed a key component of real success in youth ministry – discipling parents.
“I was proficient at discipling students at church, but my best efforts were not enough. I needed help, and the Lord showed me a more comprehensive plan found in Deuteronomy 6.”
In Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Smith found both a biblical admonition and practical instructions that transformed the focus of his ministry.
“In this passage, Moses calls on the nation of Israel, and by implication all believers, to love God with all of their being and to allow His Word to saturate their lives,” Smith said.
“This passage instructs and challenges us to impress the Lord’s commandments upon our children by talking about His Word when we sit at home, when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up. The home is either mentioned or implied in each of these scenarios.
“Simply put, being intentional to talk about the Lord and the things of God in daily conversations is an easy habit to start that will pay eternal dividends.”
To help churches begin developing a comprehensive disciple-making strategy that involves equipping families, Smith is planning a series of events across the state this spring.
From Mon., April 24 to Sun., April 30, Smith is sponsoring the Faith at Home network pre-conference tour in various locations across the state.
The events will feature author, speaker and former pastor Mark Holmen, who will lead a discussion for pastors, staff and church leaders on how the church and the home work together in family discipleship. Visit ncbaptist.org/faithathometour to learn more about event locations in your area.
April’s pre-conference tour will serve as a springboard for a series of Faith at Home conferences being planned for this fall.
“When it comes to family discipleship, God has designed the church and the home to come together as a team,” Smith said.
“When both institutions are focused on God’s vision for the family, we can accomplish extraordinary things for His Kingdom in home, in the church and in the community.”