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Family discipleship isn’t about a program or curriculum or doing a particular Bible study. Learn what matters most when it comes to discipling your kids.

One summer after my son had graduated, he came in after midnight from talking to a friend outside who was leaving our house. I couldn’t sleep and had gone into the living room to read on my Kindle for a bit. When he came in, we sat in the dimly lit room and talked for a long time. Sometimes with boys, sitting side by side in the dark is the best time to talk. I’m glad I didn’t miss that opportunity even though I was tired the next morning.

Finding Opportunities for Family Discipleship

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19–20​

Did you know that because of the verb tense in the Greek, the idea for “go” here is “as you are going? Consider how similar of an idea we see in Deuteronomy 6:6–7,

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise

These words are specifically written to the nation of Israel as a way parents were to pass their faith along to their children, but I believe the principle is the same for us. As parents we have the responsibility to teach our children.

Discipleship is a natural part of life. And doing life alongside of one another takes TIME.

Two kinds of time in fact.

Taking Time for Family Discipleship: Chronos and Kairos 

Recently during our Sunday morning service, our pastor shared​ this point: “Believers who live as ambassadors for Jesus Christ will seek out and welcome opportunities to invest their time in spiritually significant conversations with those around them—Ephesians 5:15–16; Colossians 4:5.”

I couldn’t help but think about how this relates to discipleship when it comes to our kids. 

He explained that there are two Greek words for time used in the New Testament—chronos and kairos. Chronos is the word for time the way we usually think about: chronological time.​ It’s the way we usually talk about time when we say things like, “It’s time to go now” or your kids ask, “How much time will this take?” 

​Kairos​ on the other hand is the word used in Colossians 4:5–6,Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time (Gr. kairos). Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.  

He went on to tell us that kairos ​is a: 

  • Point of time or period of time with the implication of being especially fit for something
  • Point of time where an opportunity is presented and calls for some type of response
  • This time is rarely scheduled but is incredibly valuable

​Kairos ​is about opportunity.

Our kids need both.

Why Chronos is Important for Discipleship

Let’s go back to Deuteronomy 6:6–7. The Israelites were commanded to teach God’s commandments to their children while sitting and lying, from morning to evening. In other words at all different times of the day and in various conditions. How is this possible if we don’t spend a significant amount of time with them?

When we spend time with our kids, we really get to know them. Building family relationships requires that we intentionally set time aside to make our families a priority. And it’s in the quantity of time, which we can plan for, that we will find the teachable “kairos” moments.

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Why Kairos is Important for Discipleship

The quote our pastor shared that morning stuck with me.

We plan for chronos in our calendars, but we can’t plan for kairos—opportunity time—since we never know when it will come. God orchestrates special opportunities in our lives, and we can easily overlook them by misconstruing them as interruptions.
The most significant thing we do today probably won’t be in our planner. Instead, it will be our response to a divinely appointed opportunity or “kairos moment”(such as a chance encounter, a strong impression to call or pray for someone, or an unforeseen act of service). — Ken Boa

How many special opportunities will we miss with our own children if we don’t use our time wisely? It’s like the story I shared at the beginning. My son was ready to talk. If I had gotten up to go on to bed when he came in, I would have missed it and the chance to have a deeper conversation about faith related, relationship matters.

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What’s the one thing you need to know about family discipleship?

Discipleship isn’t about a program or curriculum or even a particular Bible study.

It’s about relationship. A relationship that takes time. 

Jesus lived life alongside of His disciples. They walked with Him and saw how He treated the lame, the sick, the outcasts of society. He told them parables and used object lessons, taking what they knew and relating it to spiritual truths.

They saw His compassion even when he was physically exhausted.

They watched Him pray in His darkest hour.

And Jesus patiently waited and watched as their understanding of who He is grew.

Let’s follow His example.

If you want to disciple you children from an overflow of your relationship with Christ, you have to start with your own heart first! The Holy Spirit will show you those “kairos” moments with your kids! 

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Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.