I was discipled by a man who knew what he was doing. He was exceedingly skilled at building deeply into another’s life. This discipleship process had such a profound effect on my life that I absolutely had to learn how to do it, no matter the cost.
At age 23, I put my career plans on hold and moved halfway across the country to learn how to make disciples of Jesus Christ. After three long but rewarding years dedicated to this ministry, I completed the training I wanted, and it was time to resume my original life plan: Career and…etc.?
So, here’s my next few years in a nutshell: I landed the job of my dreams with a giant ad agency, met the girl of my dreams, ran away scared from the girl of my dreams, finally came to my senses and married Sharon (she’s still the girl of my dreams), had two kids, built a career and maintained a ministry discipling men in my church. Life was good, all according to plan.
Then…out of nowhere…things changed. The kids started walking, talking, thinking, talking, growing, talking, talking, talking!! If I had had any dreams or expectations about family life, this was not even close. And any ideas I may have had about what a family might someday require from me was—easily– the greatest underestimation of my life.
Of course, those of you with children are nodding and (maybe) smiling. This experience is certainly common to every parent that has ever lived. So, as all parents have done before me, I asked myself, “Now what?”
For me, there was an immediate answer to that question. Go with Plan A.
Since I was a trained and experienced disciple-maker, Sharon and I should simply do what I already knew how to do: Disciple our children. “Easy enough,” thought I.
And that was the second greatest underestimation of my life.
Turns out that discipling your kids is a completely different animal than dealing with men who are eager to follow Christ. Who knew? Fast forwarding, my children survived and actually turned out great. God is faithful! They’re both in their 20s and love the Lord. But the process…wow! I wish I had kept a journal, but at the time, we didn’t know how challenging it would be.
There were very few resources available at the time to help guide us, and we didn’t really know anyone that was attempting to do what we had in mind. So we made it up as we went along, and there were ups and downs along the way.
Still…making the commitment to disciple our children and seeing it through was—easily—the greatest, most rewarding accomplishment of our life. Nothing else is even a close second.
We offer concepts and ideas to guide parents in their discipling perspective and family development. A few are easy to introduce for first-timers, a few are fun, a few obvious…and a few may scare the bejeebers out of you. Stay tuned.
By Marty Gonterman