When I first found out I was pregnant, I was excited to become a mother, but I was also terrified. My husband and I would be responsible for the discipleship of our daughter! While only God can change hearts, it is His will that parents should spiritually lead and nurture their children. What a high calling!
One truth that helped relieve my anxiety was the truth that discipleship is not complicated. While my Type A personality likes a plan, discipleship in the home is not about a 14-step Bible curriculum. It is about incorporating the Gospel into the everyday rhythms of the home. Jesus did not spend His three years of ministry at a desk writing a grand plan; He ate, walked, and lived with his disciples. And in that eating, walking, and living, He showed them who God is.
While this is definitely not easy, it is simple. When we first let the word of Christ dwell in us, we then can allow it to dwell in our homes. By letting the Gospel influence even the mundane moments of our day, we can build a foundation of faith in our children.
These are a few resources that I use every day with my little one. They’re beautiful, fun, and, most importantly, incredibly simple.
Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
If I could give each set of new parents a gift, this would be it! The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones is a retelling of forty-four Bible stories that show how every story in the Bible points to the climax of redemptive history—Jesus! From God’s creation to John’s vision of the new creation, each story ends with a paragraph reminding the reader of how this story fits into God’s Big Story. It points out the foreshadowing of Christ in the Old Testament and the impact of Christ in the New Testament.
My daughter loves the colorful and fun illustrations, but I love that this book helps us teach our daughter her part in God’s great Story. While this is obviously a storybook for children, hearing my husband read these stories to our daughter has strengthened my own faith. It reminds us that the Bible is not a book of rules or of heroes. It’s a true Story:
Every Story in the Bible whispers his name.Jesus Storybook Bible
“It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle—the piece that makes all the other pieces fit tougher, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.”
Scripture Memory Journal for Kids by Daily Grace Co.
Daily Grace Co. creates some of the most beautiful journals and Scripture cards, and this Scripture Memory Journal for Kids is no exception! This is a spiral bound notebook that I keep on our kitchen table. Each week, I flip to a new verse and say/sing/act it out while my daughter eats her meal. What I love about this journal is that it’s a beautiful reminder to incorporate Scripture into our day. While my daughter can’t say the words back to me, we are building a routine of memorizing and meditating on Scripture. Sometimes, I see if there is a Seeds Family Worship song that incorporates this verse, and we sing that throughout the week as well.
Don’t ever let the fact that your child is too young to “understand” what you are saying to keep you from practicing spiritual disciplines with them. Even at that young of age, they are learning your habits and priorities. If praying and reading Scripture before each meal is the only thing they know, then those habits will become theirs as they grow older.
The Ology Album by Sovereign Grace Music
We all have those annoying kid’s songs that plague us (for me, it’s “Stuff Mart” from VeggieTale’s Madame Blueberry). Most children’s music I grin and bear, knowing that my little one is enjoying it. But not so with The Ology by Sovereign Grace Music. This is an album that kids and adults will both enjoy. What I love about this album, more than any other kid’s music, is that it combines theologically rich ideas with easy to comprehend lyrics and fun, danceable music. My daughter and I listen to this every morning, and it never gets old. And I never mind if “Totally God, Totally Man”ends up stuck in my head throughout the day.
I also love it because it instills in our family some of the basic vocabulary necessary for teaching core doctrines of the Christian faith. Who is God? Who is Jesus? What is sin? Why do we read the Bible? While my daughter is only 15 months old, seeds of faith are being sown into her heart by hearing this every day about God:
You’re never needy, how could You be? You made everything on Earth and in the sky and in the sea. You’re never lonely, the Trinity! Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet You’re reaching out to me, inviting me to come to You, inconceivable, but true!
You’re never lonely, the Trinity! Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet You’re reaching out to me.“God of wow”
These are a few simple tools I use every day as I disciple my daughter. But while these are helpful, you don’t need anything fancy or expensive to begin teaching your children at a young age about God. Just love God with your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and let that love overflow into your interaction with your children. They will learn more from those everyday moments saturated in the Gospel than from a whole summer of Vacation Bible Schools. Love God and love your children well; God will give you the daily grace to do the rest.