AILSA MATESIC (NSW) joins the conversation on discipling a generation.
My children are now in their teens but I recall when my oldest son Aaron began school.
The reluctance so many of us feel because we are sending our innocent lambs into the world of wolves! While seeking the peace of God somehow i was inspired to read John 17 where Jesus prays for His disciples. I scribbled in the Bible these words: Ailsa prays for her children. It has since been a key scripture for me as a mum. The biggest lessons being firstly, Pray, and secondly, Give them the WORD.
You should go count how many times Jesus emphasises this in His prayer! I’m convinced if we, as mum and dad, as grandparents, as uncles and aunties and also those in our spiritual family can do these two things CONSISTANTLY, we can win this battle against the world for our children.
Of course PRAYER and the WORD can take root in so many different ways. One on one, as a family around a meal, as they are going out the door to school, before a footy match or a special race, in the car - making the most of all those trips! It’s important to see all the teachable moments in our days. And believe me there a sooo many. If you are an adult having your own consistent relationship with the Lord, it won’t be hard to capture the moments. Remember making disciples, especially of our children, is CAUGHT more than TAUGHT!
One of my favourite statements, which I use a lot as my kids leave in the morning or get out of the car, is LOVE JESUS…LOVE PEOPLE! It is my way of reminding them that they have a mission out there, wherever they go, whoever they are with. Along with these simple reminders and often prior to them, usually at breakfast we spend time together in the Bible and in prayer for our friends who don’t know Jesus. Hospitality is key! We regularly encourage our kids to bring their friends home and we intentionally engage and serve them. By doing this we feel we are partnering with our kids and helping them reach their friends. So many of us wonder where to start and who to reach, when God is just asking us to love those in front of us, our kids and their friends! Remember our family really is our first church!!
Recently I felt a growing desire in me for us as a family to serve the Lord more together. Yes we have gone on regular mission trips and this sure has been a blessing and I recommend it! But I want to keep hearing from the Lord on how we can do this. I feel that boys benefit a lot from practically serving the Lord and doing things together as a team. I am thankful that the church is now so much more fluid, and there are really no limits to how God can use us, and especially our children.
My hearts cry is for kingdom hearted men and women to come along side of children. Each of us as mums and dads know we could do with the extra support. It is sad that we have segregated the generations, but I believe that is changing and we are being restored to be the multi generational family we were meant to be, therefore discipleship could happen at a more accelerated rate. I am anticipating that as we come together in our towns, in our regions and as a nation we are going to notice more and more young people and children amongst us. I am seeing this already. I pray when we gather that we embrace those younger ones, include them, ask them questions, ask for their thoughts. Or maybe we need to leave our adult conversation and go kick a ball or paint a picture, or something. God is calling forth spiritual mums and dads. I think He has enough instructors!
A younger Jaad on mission in the Philippines