I’ve been eyeball-deep in research about today’s parents – specifically Millennial parents – lately, and a common factor among parents is a list of reasons why they can’t disciple their kids at home. But in reality, those reasons are often lies, and as children’s ministry leaders, we can help parents replace those lies with important truths about their role as primary disciplers of their children. To speak into this discussion, I’m excited to share this week’s guest blog post from Christie Thomas, author and one of our DKM Vendors, all about the 3 lies parents believe about at-home discipleship and the truths we can help them discover:

If your efforts to equip families with the best family discipleship resources aren’t well received, know this: The answer isn’t to send home more resources to gather crumbs in the minivan, but to take one step backward and show parents that they can do this. Equipping families is more about the message than the method.

Most Christian parents want to disciple their kids, but they get bogged down by the untrue messages they tell themselves every day. We must address the lies that parents are believing, breaking them down and exposing them as lies. Because I promise you, once they internalize the message, they’ll find the method that works for their unique family.

LIE #1: I need my kids to sit still and listen.

We think if they’re not sitting still and listening quietly, they’re not paying attention or learning. But when our kids stop listening, they aren’t the problem; we are.

They’re not acting out because they don’t care, they’re probably acting out because we’re boring! And even if they were sitting quietly, sitting still and listening quietly doesn’t even equal engaged learning for a lot of kids. Quiet kids are just as likely to be zoned out as engaged, and sometimes the most engaged child is the one who’s running around the kitchen while you talk.

Sharing Jesus with our kids isn’t about getting as much info into them as possible while they sit quietly and drink in our wisdom —discipleship is about relationships. When parents learn to consider their child’s interests, allow them to wiggle and interrupt, or let them create art or even play while they’re reading or praying, the family is building a sense of truth and family warmth, which is critical for faith transmission.

TRUTH MESSAGE #1: You don’t need to get them to sit still, you need to get them engaged.

LIE #2: I don’t have time.

You’ve probably heard the analogy of the priorities of our day being like a jar of rocks, pebbles, and sand. To get everything into the jar, we put the big rocks in first, representing the high-priority tasks, then add the smaller rocks and sand, which are the low-priority tasks. Faith is supposed to be one of those big rocks, right? When we speak of family discipleship like this (in terms of priorities and something else they must be doing), parents feel like they have to actively take something out in order to fit God in.

But what if God is the sand? Rather than viewing the sand as the low-priority tasks, what if we viewed the sand as the thing that makes the jar full and complete? Yes, the sand is the part you pour in last, the sand fits in all the cracks and surrounds and connects every rock. Acts 17:28 says “In him we live and move and have our being” and Colossians 1:17 says “he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

When we help parents approach their child’s faith as something that glues their day together and slips into every nook and cranny of their lives, suddenly it becomes very different from an item on their to-do list. We’re asking them to invite God into what they’re already doing – driving kids to school, bathing toddlers, and tucking kids into bed, rather than adding something extra to their schedule.

Truth Messages #2: Small, intentional faith moments are enough.

LIE #3: I have to know enough before I can share anything with my kids

Chances are that you’ve poured over your curriculum, prayed over the day, and prepared the perfect lesson. Parents don’t usually have time for that. Not only that, but maybe their own faith was largely formed by the church, so they aren’t sure they’re doing enough with their kids, or doing the right stuff. Or maybe they grew up with faith being such a personal, private thing that it feels weird to talk about God in normal family conversation. Maybe they’re new Christians. Having their kids learn from trained people who are prepared and obviously know more can certainly feel safer.

But here’s the truth: God doesn’t expect us to know enough because he wants us to rely on Him. Jesus specializes in taking our little and turning it into a lot. Remember how he took five loaves of bread and two fish and fed thousands? We don’t need a lot when we bring our little to God.

 Truth Message #3: Jesus can take your little and turn it into a lot, because it’s not about what you know, it’s about WHO you know.

Teaching families is more about the Message than the Method.  

Once your families truly believe that

  • True engagement is a better goal than sitting still…
  • Small, intentional faith moments are enough, and…
  • Jesus can take their little and turn it into a lot…

… they’ll be able to find the right methods that work with their unique families.

Moms and dads will begin to realize that family discipleship is more about WHO they know than WHAT they know, and they’ll start leaning on God to help them confidently disciple their kids. You won’t have to fuss about finding the perfect resources because they’ll be motivated to source them out on their own, and you’ll be able to focus on the kids in your ministry who don’t have Christian parents.

Want help teaching parents about the little habits of faith discipleship at home? Check out the Family Discipleship 101 Small Group Curriculum! It’s a 6-week video-based course on developing tiny faith habits in the home. In it, parents will discover the Growth Cycle Method, which gives parents a tangible, sustainable system to help them create realistic, attainable habits of family discipleship, enabling them to tap into the power of starting small with simple habits that grow into reflexes and rhythms of life over time. Learn more about the Family Discipleship Small Group Curriculum here. DKM Subscribers can access a free sample of the curriculum here.

Also make sure to pre-order a copy of Christie’s newest book, Little Habits, Big Faith, releasing July 2024!

Find more on our month-long discussion about partnering with parents here.

Author Bio: Christie Thomas is a homeschool mom of 3 and former Children’s Ministries Director. She is the author of the Christ-centered devotional, Fruit Full: 100 Family Experiences for Growing in the Fruit of the Spirit, written over many late nights beside a cold cup of blueberry tea. She can be found online at Little Shoots, Deep Roots and snuggled up near the fire at home in Western Canada. Find all of Christie’s resources on Deeper KidMin here.


  1. Is there any way these blogs could be posted with an ability to print them. There have been a number of posts that I would have liked to make copies of for the parents and teachers.

    • Hey Susan! The easiest way to make a print-friendly version is to use a site like printfriendly.com – you can input the url of the blog post and it will create a printable pdf for you! You can also always share the link to the blog post with your team/parents via email, online, or on social media!

  2. […] 3 Lies Parents Believe About At-Home Discipleship (And the Truths You Can Help Them Discover) […]

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