The Invisible Opportunities

father and daughter discussing things at the dinner table with a mother and baby in the background.

Recently, our church hosted the IF: Women’s Conference where the emphasis was on discipleship, and it got many of our women thinking:

"How can we be more intentional about mentoring? Who is someone in your life who needs to hear and understand the gospel? If Jesus’ call is to make disciples, then how are we living that out?"

These kinds of questions permeated the conference, but I wanted to point out a seemingly invisible opportunity for discipleship: the kitchen table. As a parent, the most important people we can disciple are our own children. Your mission field is your home. Your children watch you, imitate you, and pick up on a million queues just by your response.

By letting these opportunities remain invisible, many parents waste their God-given potential to introduce their own children to Jesus. So, what does discipleship look like with a small child? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Begin asking yourself, “What am I modeling for my children?”

If they had to define a disciple of Jesus just by watching you, what would they know? This gives you a new pair of eyes, and new sets of ideas on how to teach your children about Jesus.

2. Take the time to read from the Bible with your child.

Children as young as 18 months can start to learn how important the Bible is as we make it a part of our everyday life. Reading small stories, even a Psalm every night, is a great way to incorporate Bible reading.

3. Pray together, even for the small things.

If there is a hurt finger, stop and pray out loud together. When you are happy to eat a special snack, pray together. Making prayer an ongoing conversation teaches our children how approachable the Lord is.

4. Let your kids see your church community.

Being a part of the church family, doing life together with other people in a Growth Group or Life Group is a wonderful way to show how God designed us as Christians to do life in community. Going to church every Sunday and making it a priority speaks volumes to your preschoolers. Knowing that church is important enough to encourage and be excited about is essential to your little one’s development.

Discipleship is as simple as teaching what you know. Thankfully, preschoolers will accept whatever we offer them to learn, so don’t wait until you feel qualified to start discipling your child. Make a small change today.

Karen Erne is the Preschool Minister of Hulen Street Church. She directs Kids Street Downtown, our Preschool Ministry, and helps families know how to love their child in the stage they're in.