The Disciple-Making Parent

Quotes from The Disciple-Making Parent by Chap Bettis

“Shepherding of our children changes with their maturity level. Physically, they move from total dependence to total independence. Similarly, the goal in discipleship is to move from command to persuasion, from discipline to discernment, from external controls to internal controls, from parent control to Spirit control.” (29)

 

Although I’ve read quite many parenting books in my life, I still try to read at least one a year in order to challenge myself and to keep growing in this vital area. Although it’s becoming harder to pick up anything new, sometimes I come across a book that surprises me with its fresh and stimulating content. That was my experience this past weekend as I started reading The Disciple-Making Parent by Chap Bettis. As, I said, I wasn’t expecting much, but quickly grabbed my Macbook and started jotting down some of the most memorable quotes. I thought I’d finish the book in a couple of days, but I’ve only read 20% of it and found much to think about and do. Below are some of the most thought-provoking quotes from the first 50 pages, which I hope will not only encourage and challenge you in your own parenting but also move you to buy the book. I’ll share more of my thoughts about this book in coming days.


The Great Commission is a call for followers of Jesus Christ to reach out to our world, to our towns, and to our neighborhoods. But, in the Great Commission there is also a call to make disciples in our own families. (6)

Our job is not to raise good kids who pursue the American dream with a little Christianity (and eternal “fire insurance”) sprinkled in for good measure. (6)

The truth of the gospel is transferred through relationships. Disciples are not mass-produced. They are crafted with individual attention. (6)

What better discipleship unit than the family? What better model, teacher, and shepherd over a little one than a parent? God’s desire for your family is to be a Trinity-displaying, God-glorifying, disciple-making unit. (6)

The word Christian only occurs three times in the New Testament, while the word disciple occurs 269 times…Disciple implies a lifelong commitment to seek after, learn from, and stay close to our rabbi, Jesus. (7)

58% of young adults who attended church every week when they were teens did not attend church at all by the time they were 29….Up to 50% of young people did not stick with their faith once they were in college. (9)

I know numerous earnest followers of Jesus Christ in their fifties and sixties whose children are not walking with the Lord. They carry this ache in their hearts like a heavy ball and chain. Charles Spurgeon comments on this burden when he states, “No cross is so heavy as a living cross.” (10)

God’s most effective Shepherd – YOU! (13)

Though the family is not the exclusive means of discipleship it is meant to be the primary one. (15)

The most important social influence in shaping young people’s religious lives is the religious life modeled and taught to them by their children. (15)

Your family is a tiny discipleship unit. (15)

No one can take the place of Mom or Dad building spiritual truth into the lives of their children. (16)

While we may give lip service to discipling our children, the reality comes when we start prioritizing activities [e.g. soccer, hockey, music lessons, etc.]. (17)

The first battleground of family discipleship is not my child’s heart; it is my heart. (17)

Each parent must decide whether he is more concerned that his child is accepted into Heaven or “Harvard.” We all have “Harvards,” — those worldly successes we desire for our children. (17)

The best thing you can do for your child’s soul is to become actively involved in a gospel-preaching, gospel-living church community. (21)

Shepherding of our children changes with their maturity level. Physically, they move from total dependence to total independence. Similarly, the goal in discipleship is to move from command to persuasion, from discipline to discernment, from external controls to internal controls, from parent control to Spirit control. (29)

Most common reasons why prodigals left the church: the role of hypocrisy in the home and church, a lack of proactive explanations of the reason for the Christian faith, and a legalistic rather than clear understanding of the gospel and Christian living. (31)

There is no way to be a perfect parent, but there are a thousand ways to be a good one. (33)

The number one reason why young people walk away from the faith is they see their parents and say, “Why would I want to turn out like this? (40)

God has given us sinful children to shine a floodlight on ways we need to grow. (43)

Discipleship is not a project, it’s a transfer of life. That transfer happens in the context of loving affection. (50)

Martin Luther: “Marriage is a better school for character than any monastery; for it’s here that your corners are rubbed off.” (51)

Child training is a misnomer. It’s really parent training. Children are sent by God to make us more like Jesus. (51)

My children’s greatest need is not a parent who pretends to be perfect. Much more important is a parent who sense his need for the Savior to cleanse and the Spirit to empower. (53)

The Disciple-Making Parent by Chap Bettis.

David Murray is Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. This article first appeared on his blog, Head Heart Hand, and is used with permission.