“Discipleship in the home”
For some, these words bring a sense of affirmation and anticipation; a hearty “Amen” in the heart. For others, the reaction to hearing these words can be quite different. One of the things I noticed when I started to work with parents in the area of discipleship was an oft-expressed sense of inadequacy. Why? Well, because often the parents I talk to didn’t experience “discipleship in the home” growing up; rather their experience learning about God and faith was isolated to their Sunday school or church service.
This experience of a compartmentalized lifestyle separates home life from church life from school life from work life and so on and can create an environment in many homes, even Christian homes, that is devoid of faith practices and spiritual conversations.
And many parents feel overwhelmed and a little scared to begin introducing these spiritual elements into the rhythm of their home.
But perhaps the answer to helping parents navigate these waters lies less in experience and even in equipping and more in a framework changes; a change that removes the separation of spiritual from secular and begins to explore life as one holistic experience rather than segmented ones.
In his book Ancient-Future Faith, Robert Webber says, “We must learn, then, not to HAVE a spirituality, something we turn on at a particular place or time, but to BE spiritual, as a habit of life, a continuous state of being. It is to this end that we seek after God in the stillness and hubbub of life, but always and everywhere in and through the church, where Christ is made present to us and, through us, to the world.”
In other words, our spiritual life and our secular life aren’t separate but rather two parts of one whole simply called “life.” Which means whether we are at our job or at home or at the ball game or in the car, we are still very much spiritual and attuned to spiritual things.
So, what does all of this have to do with parenting, discipleship and the home?
Those parents who feel so overwhelmed often feel that way because “churchy things” like talking about God, reading the Bible and praying are things they’ve only experienced in a building we call “church.” Their sacred life and their secular life are strongly compartmentalized, and allowing the two to intermingle is a foreign concept to them.
This compartmentalization of life is almost like a toddler’s food plate, where each item gets its own little compartment and nary the foods shall touch. But the thing about our faith is that it wasn’t ever meant to be left in one compartment. Rather it was intended to be the plate upon which all of the other things find their meaning and stability.
I remember when this all clicked for me. It was an “aha” moment like no other that culminated in this thought:
Discipleship at home is not about adding more to my already full schedule.
It is about inviting Christ into what I am already doing.
Making disciples, according to the Great Commission, is something we do “as we go” (Matthew 28:16-20). It’s something that should be as natural as eating and sleeping and coming and going. In fact when Moses told the people of Israel how to pass on their faith to the next generation, he tells them to do it “when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deut. 6:7). These are the most ordinary, mundane, everyday times that all people on earth experience daily and it is in these moments that we are told to pass on our faith.
Because Christ, being fully human and fully God, can transform the most ordinary things into the most sacred because for him, there is no division; it is all “life.”
Brother Lawrence, a 17th century monk, wrote a book called The Practice of the Presence of God, where he encouraged Christians to live each day in the experience of God’s presence no matter what they are doing. He shares that “our sanctification [does] not depend on changing our works, but in doing that for God’s sake that which we commonly do for our own.” Inviting Christ into what we are already doing changes them from mundane to beautiful, ordinary to extraordinary, temporal to sacred; it brings our life as a disciple, harmony.
And that is “discipleship in the home.”
It’s truly not about doing more. It’s about experiencing Christ in all that we do.
This article originally appeared here.