One of Weave’s guest authors, Jeannie Marie, recently vacationed with her family in Mexico. Many of her on-the-beach observations apply directly to the way in which we, as parents, mobilize our children to engage in God’s mission of blessing the nations. Enjoy this version of her blog post, adapted by Karen Hardin, Weave.
I’m sitting on the beach, watching a disciple-making story play out. It features a teenage fisherman and his sister who caught her first rock bass on the Sea of Cortez. But let’s back up…
My son (the teenage fisherman) loves fishing with his father. They’ve logged thousands of hours focused on a mutual purpose, fishing. Yesterday, here on the ocean in Mexico, without his father (he had to work), my son caught flounder, bass, and some ocean fish we didn’t know the name of while we gloried in his success.
This morning, he invited his younger sister to try her hand at fishing. And she did it! She caught her first ocean fish ever. Here are some things I learned watching them from my under-the-umbrella spot on the sand, about making disciples who make disciples:
- My son spent a lot of time with his father first. He learned everything he knows about fishing from the best. Parents, before we can disciple our children to love God and His mission, we must spend time with our Heavenly Father, learning and becoming like Him.
- My son modeled success. My daughter wanted to do what he did. We can’t teach something we’re not doing ourselves. When we model for our children what it looks like to follow Jesus, and the joy it brings, they’ll want to follow Jesus, too.
- My son didn’t wait for his sister to ask about fishing. He directly invited her into an experience, at a specific time, with him. As parents, we need to intentionally look for ways to include our children in God’s mission and consistently invite them to join with us in blessing the nations. Jesus told His disciples, “Follow me.” As our children follow our lead, we help them become disciples who follow Him.
- My son took his new recruit straight to the ocean, and let her make her mistakes so he could teach her in the moment. He stayed right beside his sister, instructing her, as she fished. As we mobilize our children to join with God in His mission, let’s get them practicing right away in an environment where we can stay by their side, gently giving advice and assistance when needed.
- My son set up his fishing disciple with the right bait and a ready-to-use fishing pole, at a time when the fish were biting. As we mobilize our children to bless the nations, it’s helpful to provide age-appropriate tasks that are achievable so they can experience what it’s like to gain forward ground.
- My son celebrated his sister’s successful catch, even though it was a small, unassuming fish. She felt like the Queen of Cortez, as he lavished praise on her. Let’s celebrate our children with every step of yes they take in blessing the nations, no matter how small. If we celebrate their efforts, while giving praise to God, they will take another step of yes, and another, and another.
- I noticed one thing that my son did not do: he didn’t teach his new fishing partner how to teach someone else to fish. We brought a friend along who showed a cautious interest in fishing. My son could have shown my daughter how to mentor this friend. Parents, let’s not miss this crucial piece of family discipleship! As we mobilize our own sons and daughters to participate in God’s mission, we can show them how to invite their Christian friends to join in God’s mission alongside them.
Parents, we have the privilege of raising up a whole new generation of “fishers of men” who will impact the world. What are we doing to prepare them now, while they are still in our homes?
Adapted with permission from Jeannie Marie’s blog (https://www.jeannie-marie.com/)