When I was a child, I heard the song “MOTHER” which was an acrostic poem put to music that explained the many attributes of a good mother. As I look back on 18 years of motherhood, I see that there was one letter missing – D for discipleship.
The Great Commission tells us to “make disciples,” and Acts 1:8 instructs us to begin our mission work as witnesses at home. This work of nurturing Christians in their walk with the Lord must not only begin at home, but it must begin within the walls of our home.
One of the most important jobs that God has given to me as a Christian mother is to disciple my children. Eighteen years ago, God blessed my husband Cameron and I with a precious baby boy. The following 11 years would bring three more children into our family. Little did I know that when my first blessing arrived that my biggest mission field had just become my home.
I have grown the most in my walk with the Lord as I have discipled my children. My prayer life has also taken on a whole new depth as I intercede on their behalf daily. I know that my number one job according to Proverbs is to train up my children in the ways of the Lord so that they will not depart from it. I also understand that this verse instructs parents to help their children discover and develop their “bend” in life, that is, to know and obey God’s will specifically for them.
Deuteronomy 6:7-9 is an excellent guide for mothers to know how to disciple their children. Verse 7 of this passage says, “Teach them (scriptures) to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
The act of discipleship in the home is not just a once a week lesson or a nightly devotional. While those things are good and should take place, true discipleship takes place in everything I do and everything I say. My main goal in parenting is to do everything I can to help my children make the Lord the center of their lives by exemplifying a Christ-centered life.
My husband and I decided a number of years ago that it wasn’t enough to teach our children about missions. God showed us that the best way to help them learn was to allow them the opportunity to experience missions first-hand.
Our church embraces an Acts 1:8 missions strategy called “Here, There and Everywhere.” All four of our children have had the opportunity to experience missions here as we have planted a church (Lake Church, White Lake), there through partnership missions in New York City and everywhere at our sister church in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe.
As parents we have tried our best to instill in our children a global view of the Great Commission. They all possess a strong heart for missions here, there, and everywhere that we pray will stay with them the rest of their lives.
One of the toughest parts of making disciples of my children has been the most important part of their walk with Christ – their personal salvation. Patience is not my strong point, and I struggle with it daily. I really wanted to push when it came to the salvation of my children, but I knew that wouldn’t get me or get them anywhere. If I had pushed my children into making a decision for Christ, I would have always wondered if they had answered my call or the Lord’s call.
I prayed that when the Lord called, my children would be open and ready to receive Him. My three oldest children have all answered the Lord’s call of salvation, and each time was special and personal between them and God. We also continue to pray for the salvation of our youngest child.
I certainly have not mastered discipleship in the home, and I know that I have messed up many times. I pray daily that I will be open to the Lord’s guidance in this journey called parenthood. In 2 Timothy 1:5, Timothy is reminded of the genuine faith that his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice instilled him.
I pray that as I do my best to disciple my children, that they will know that my faith is genuine, and I trust in the Lord for all things. I strive daily to be a good mother so that my children might one day “rise up and call me blessed,” but more importantly, that they will live for Christ and bring Him glory all the days of their lives.
Since the day they were born, we have always told our kids that God had a special plan for their lives. Our duty as parents is to help them as they pursue that plan. May God grant us wisdom and patience as we “press on” together.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – This article was written by Tiffany McGill, who serves on the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) Board of Directors, along with her husband, Cameron. Cameron also serves as the BSC first vice-president.)