One of the first visitors to this site had these comments on the discipleship of children:
I certainly have a desire to disciple children, but not in the traditional sense. I don’t see it as my job to disciple children. I see it as my job to equip and encourage parents to be those disciplers. I see kids for a couple of hours each week max. Mom & Dad need to be (Biblically & logically) the primary influencers. So, this leads me to my questions. Is DisipleLand designed to encourage and equip CP’s to equip parents? If so, what does that look like? If it’s designed for CP’s to equip kids, then what does that look like also? Is this program based, curriculum based, all of the above? Final question: how does blogging accomplish the goal? I’m sure I’m not asking questions you’ve already been asked, but this is what popped in my head when checking out the page. I like the concept but am looking for a little more clarification on what you see as the end result of DiscipleLand and how you plan to get there.
Excellent Questions! First of all, let me say I don’t even know what the “traditional sense” is – I’m not sure there IS one, seems the traditional thing to do is “Christian Education” – not disciple-making. I agree that parents ARE to be the primary disciplers of kids and we MUST intentionally equip them, but Jesus did give US the command to make disciples, not to “go equip parents to make disciples” – He wasn’t speaking exclusively to parents, He was speaking to all Christians, so we can’t get out of it that easily.
As for DiscipleLand, I can only answer as a user of the material and as a friend of DiscipleLand’s founder, Mark Steiner, having had many long conversation with him about discipleship and how DiscipleLand was born out of the need for a curriculum that did more than just teach the Bible. I would say YES, it is designed to equip parents to partner with the church in the disciple-making process from the in-home tools that work hand-in-glove with the classroom materials. Not only do they have the usual “take home” papers, but a poster that visually walks through each unit for the parents, Bible cards to help parents engage, and best of all (in this Webkins age) an online tool called DiscipleZone.com where parents and kids can continue the learning process together. I can’t wait until my little boy is old enough for the tools they provide for parents so that what I do in the home can be in concert with what is happening at the church.
For more about DiscipleLand, you can obviously check out their website at DiscipleLand.com. It is curriculum based, but unlike many other curriculums it goes beyond just teaching the Bible to include missions (world view), the Gospel (try finding that in most curriculums!) and disciple skills. They also have tools for one on one discipleship which is key for kids who don’t have Christian parents or who do, but need a voice outside the home to reinforce what is taught in the home.
The call to disciple kids is one that I think is neglected in our busy ministries because there is no easy way to program it into existence. As for your final question, the blogging won’t disciple kids, but we hope that it will challenge leaders to think about how (or if) they are truly discipling kids in the midst of all the busyness of ministry. Addressing the good questions you asked above are EXACTLY why this blog was started! Thanks for getting us off to a good start! There are no easy answers, so we NEED to wrestle with how we pursue the Great Commission in children’s ministry. The Great Commission is not for “missions” – it is for ministry! WE ARE the “ends of the earth” from where Jesus first made the command!