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What Does Family Discipleship Look Like During COVID-19?

Written by Greg Palys on

I don’t know about you, but I like structure. To some extent, I think we all do. Yet COVID-19 has thrown off all our structure and forced us to adapt to a new way of living. It is tempting to enter survival mode and neglect weightier, spiritual matters. But here’s the good news: your kids don’t have to lack discipleship during this break. If anything, this break gives families more time to lean into family discipleship that should be present even when the church is able to gather. Here are three ways to build in structures for family discipleship during COVID-19 that will last beyond this season:

Seek to Keep Current Structures

It is important that we attempt to maintain our rhythms in this season. We want to be running, not limping, when and if life turns back to normal. To do this, I would recommend trying to recreate the church experience as much as possible. You might reach out to your Sunday School leader for each week’s lesson and any other help they can provide. Then, on Sundays, do what you normally do: get ready for the day, worship together (over the live stream) at 9:30, then work through the Sunday School lesson or passages after the live stream. If you have multiple children, consider just talking about the main passage and theme of each lesson, or pick one child’s lesson for the whole family. If your children also do a mid-week program, consider doing the same on that night.

Work to Build in New Structures

Personally, I know that if I simply have good intentions but no plan, I won’t succeed. Sure, I may be able to ride on sheer willpower for a short time, but I will eventually lose focus. If we truly believe something is important, we will build it into our days. During this season, we need to do that. We have the opportunity to reorient our calendars by building in new rhythms of family discipleship.

The single greatest rhythm you can create is a designated time for family worship. This is simply a time every day that you designate to open God’s Word together. A basic structure might look like taking ten minutes every day at breakfast or dinner to:

  1. Read the Bible
  2. Talk about what you read
  3. Pray

You could choose to work through the sermon text for the week or just pick something on your own. The important thing isn’t that you have a perfectly orchestrated plan. The important thing is that you simply do something. So, no matter which way you choose to go, open up the Bible together!

Think through other discipleship activities you can build in as well, but make sure you tie them to something that you will regularly be reminded to do. For instance, when my family sits down for dinner, I know it’s time to pray for missionaries. For you, maybe that’s going through memory verses during lunchtime, doing catechism during chores like dishes or laundry, or simply being intentional when consuming media (books or movies) to point your kids towards gospel truth.

Additionally, this is a fantastic time in history for families to be stuck at home for a while. The internet has made possible the distribution of both a quality and quantity of resources unavailable to previous generations. On top of this, many organizations are getting creative, either putting out new material or making their resources free. What better time to see what help is already at your fingertips? Try this: when your children are napping or you have that hour our two at the end of the night with your spouse, instead of turning on the TV, take a look at what is already available to you. Then, think through how you can introduce these materials to your children and build them into your structure.

Greg Palys

Greg serves at College Park as the Assistant Pastor of Children’s Ministries. He is passionate about equipping families to instill the goodness and truth of God’s Word in the next generation. Greg received his MDiv from Faith Bible Seminary and his ThM from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a certified biblical counselor. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife Sarah and their children Ruth, Ezekiel, James, Eden, and Luke.

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