Teenage girls are some of my very favorite people. They are in the stage between child and adult- trying to navigate that difficult road of becoming their own person and making their faith their own. I have learned a few characteristics to be true of them:
- Want permission to be themselves
- Need their dads like crazy
- Need to be affirmed in who they are
- Want attention from older caring adults
- They want to laugh during this time of transition from child to adult
- They thrive when they are given individual attention
- Are each individuals that need unique care
- Need the permission to dream about what God has planned for their life.
- Need a listening ear
- Need their parents to say I love you to them
- Want to accomplish big things for God
- Take your daughter on a date
- Have a meaningful conversation with her
- Tell her you love her
- Talk to her about her relationship with God- ask her the tough questions
- Wait up for her to get home and have cookies and milk waiting for her (take some time to sit at the kitchen table and talk about her night)
- Go on a walk through the neighborhood
- Work through a devotional book with her- (suggestion: The Way I’m Wired by Katie Brazelton)
Parents, you have a difficult job. You are raising your kids in a time where they can so easily become distracted from their faith. They need you. They need your attention, listening ear, counsel, correction, guidance, encouragement in their faith and most of all, your example. I am praying for you.
My title at the church is this: Student Ministries Discipleship Coordinator. Over the last several months, I have put a lot of thought into what discipleship actually means. At the end of the day, how would I define discipleship? Discipleship is intentionally leading someone, by example, toward a strong faith in God. In my role at church, I want to lead students toward Christ simply by my lifestyle. I want them to see how highly I value Scripture in my life. I want to model solid faith, even when life is just plain difficult. I want to teach them how to show forgiveness. I want to speak into their life and have a positive influence on their faith. But, I have learned, my role is limited. Time and again, it has been proven that these students are looking to their parents for the discipleship they so desperately crave.
Discipleship is intentionally leading someone, by example, toward a strong faith in God.
Let me give you a few practical ways to model discipleship in your home.
Intentionally Leading by Example:
- Talk with your kids about Scripture.
- Let them hear you pray.
- Ask them to pray for you (about something specific).
- Encourage them to have other godly adults speaking into their life (you may have said something of great importance to them, but the one time they hear it from someone else is when they get it).
- Days out with them promote good conversation.
- Model a good marriage for them.
- Be willing to apologize and ask for forgiveness. They need to see you model humility in your life.
- Show them what service looks like- get involved in a ministry and show some ownership and commitment to it.
- Model commitment to your church.
- Demonstrate healthy life skills (conflict resolution, managing money, tithe).