The Disciplemaking Learning Community right under your nose

After years of being single—and only after a few years of being married, Martin Luther said, “Marriage is a far better school of character than any monastery.” (Can I get an “amen” from the married people?)

And if marriage isn’t challenging enough, try parenting. Before we were married, my wife and I had seven keys to raising kids. Now we have seven kids—and no keys.

Your Disciplemaking Learning Community (DLC) at Home

But make no mistake about it: Your first DLC is your home. Let’s call marriage, parenting, and grandparenting what they really are—disciplemaking. And while we’re keeping things real, let’s also admit that our homes are often the last place that feels like a DLC. God wants this to change.

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The good news is that you need not be a perfect spouse, parent, or grandparent to make your home feel like a DLC. The moment you begin to try to live Deuteronomy 6:5-9, your home begins to look and feel like a DLC:

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all    your strength. These commands that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, and when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

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For our family right now, trying to apply Deuteronomy 6:5-9 means reading the Scriptures together and praying with our high school kids before they go off to school.

  • It means taking time around our dinner table to engage a short passage of Scripture and to pray together (less than 10 minutes usually).
  • It means confessing and repenting of our sins against each other when one of us loses our temper or is less than loving.
  • It means having enough humility to laugh at our own idiosyncrasies—and not mind if others laugh along with us.
  • It means driving to church together and trying to not being out of fellowship with God and each other by the time we arrive.
  • It means learning to sincerely say, “I love you,” “Will you forgive me?” and “I forgive you.”
  • It means sitting on the deck at night enjoying a sunset and together as a family literally applauding God for his handiwork.
  • It means inviting our teenagers to consider God and his Word when they ask us to go see a movie that we’re not quite sure about.

What does a Disciplemaking Learning Community mean for YOUR family?

Taking a missions trip home

Many of us get excited about the opportunities of summer ministry – especially missions trips. And rightly so. It can be a life-changing experience for you and your students. After we get home, we’re excited about giving even more students an experience in missions.

A world beyond

If you’re like me, you’re constantly wanting to expose your students to the world beyond themselves. Middle schoolers can be self-centered. Thinking of others as more important than self (Philippians 2) is a quality we pray for middle schoolers often—and a missions trip is a great way to help students grow in their concern for others.

And yet…overseas trips are typically off-limits for such young students. Even out-of-town trips can be expensive or beyond parents’ comfort level. Often our churches simply don’t have the funds or leadership in place for a missions trip every year.

But we don’t want our kids to miss out on the exposure, the people, the time with God and the friendships we experienced on a trip. I am different because of these times captured in my heart and mind, and I want our students to experience this change, too. But how do we make a missions trip happen when the church is in a financial crunch or students aren’t able to earn enough money to go?

Taking a trip without the travel

A few years ago, this was the cry of my heart for our students! I spent much time in prayer, fasting and sitting quietly before God, seeking his way for our summer of middle school ministry. And God began to give me the idea for a missions trip at home.

A “Missions at Home” trip costs little money and little of you! High school students, parents and other leaders can simply come alongside you to make sure the experience is one to last a lifetime. That summer God gave me a passion for reaching our community for Christ like never before.

What is your heart’s cry for your students to experience next summer? What is God nudging you to do about it?