After writing about “Developing a Biblical World View in Children” for K magazine I have not been able to get this question out of my head. If our job as children’s pastors is to do what Matthew 28:19 tells use to do, (and I believe it is) “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations", then what does a discipled child look like? How can we tell where we are hitting the mark if we have not defined and determined what a discipled child is in the first place? Mr. Webster says that a disciple is a follower. Alan Root in his book “Disciplification!” defines disciplification in three ways 1. The travels of a disciple. 2. The practiced habit of “following” 3. A made up word which simply means the life-changes made to become more and more like Jesus each day. So if our job is to make followers who through life changes and good choices cause them to be more like Jesus, then what actions, habits and character traits should a twelve year old Christ follower possess?
Number 1- We must become all of those things. My mom used to say, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!” What we expect others to do we must become these things first. I never want to forget that when I point to others there are three fingers pointing back to me! Number 2- Place others who will also serve as models before those you lead. A disciple cannot be made without someone who is willing to be an example. Jesus said something powerful in John 14:9 “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” Think about that, it’s almost mind boggling. Jesus modeled the Father so others would know God. Could children understand what God is like from us? They should! Children must have someone who is willing to say, ”Come follow me as I follow the Lord” Gone must be the day of saying do as I say not as I do. We must be willing to set an example and model to both kids and adults. Number 3- Give those you lead what the Bible says about each of the things you want them to do to be a true follower of Christ Jesus. Number 4- Give them opportunities to do these things. Learning is more than sitting and listening it’s all about doing. I never apologize for giving people an opportunity to serve and put what they are learning into action.
To me the proof of the discipleship process is in the living. It’s not what you know or what you feel, or what you think, it’s knowing Christ, walking by faith, thinking the Word and doing exactly what it says. That’s the mark of a discipled kid!