Family Discipleship: Leading Your Home Through Time, Moments, & Milestones by Matt Chandler & Adam Griffin
As a parent who sometimes gets lost in the immediate crises of parenting, knee deep in the trenches and struggling to see the big picture of my kids’ spiritual development, Family Discipleship was a refreshing wake-up call. In succinct, readable chapters, it gives a framework for parents to encourage whole-family spiritual growth. After laying down the foundational truths — why parents should disciple their kids and what that means — Chandler and Griffin boil family discipleship down to four areas of importance:
- Modeling — living out our day-to-day actions as an example of the gospel and the Christian life
- Time — setting aside regular time for purposeful reading and talking about Scripture
- Moments — seizing everyday opportunities to talk about biblical concepts and how they apply to situations
- Milestones — leveraging the larger events in our kids’ lives to have spiritual impact
Each chapter ends with practical suggestions for implementation. For example, the chapter on moments has several pages containing biblical concepts and attributes of God with kid-friendly definitions, Bible verses that relate to situations you might encounter, and simple explanations of godly character traits. These make for a valuable reference as you consider what truths and traits you might want to introduce into your daily conversations with your children.
Helpful Discussion Questions
Equally valuable, if not more so, were the discussion questions that followed many of the chapters. The authors encourage spouses to read the book together, or in the case of a single parent or a parent with an unbelieving spouse, to read it with someone from the church community. If you’re like me, and you’ve found yourself embroiled in an argument with your spouse over some supposedly soul-searching, team-building discussion questions in a marriage or parenting book, you might be wary. I was pleasantly surprised when these questions served to draw out past significant experiences in our own spiritual growth, reflect on present practices, and express future hopes for our family’s spiritual development in a way that promoted conversation, not argumentation.
The charts at the end of relevant chapters with space to map out your family discipleship plan are a final helpful feature. These serve as a gentle prompt to move the reader’s thoughts from hopes and intentions to concrete plans. As the authors claim from the beginning, Family Discipleship is meant to offer a framework, not a one-size-fits-all regimen for all families to follow. It’s up to parents to brainstorm and decide how to implement the concepts into their families.
A quote that captures one of the main messages of the book is this: “Family discipleship pursues sincere heart change in kids, true Christian transformation.” Family Discipleship’s emphasis on shaping children’s hearts, not just their behaviors, makes it an excellent reminder for parents at any stage of Christian maturity. It contains a healthy blend of biblical truths and practical suggestions. Even those who already hold many of the ideals described in this book will find the discussion questions helpful in reflecting on whether they are living those ideals out in reality. Recommended for couples in any stage of parenting, or to church leaders as a resource to give to young families in their church.