"Help! I currently disciple one woman and ‘casually’ another. But making time for it with children is a challenge!”
One gal recently downloaded my free Discipleship Starter Kit and commented that her biggest obstacle was time for discipleship with kids in tow. Finding time to disciple others can be challenging during many seasons of life. Kids at home (because of age or homeschooling) can be extra challenging. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when discipling others in this stage of life.
Helpful Hints when discipling with kids at home:
Don’t try to do TOO much at this stage of life.
You may need to disciple just one woman. When I had a 1 year old and a 3 year old, the most I could do was meet once a week with one woman. Now that my kids are in elementary school, I can disciple many more. Always take into careful consideration the ages of your kids (and number of kids!). I personally did not disciple anyone when I had a newborn. I had to wait until they were on some sort of predicable schedule to know when my windows of opportunity would be.
Have them come to you.
Find a corner of your home to meet and don’t worry about cleaning and such. I find this much more doable in a busy season of life. It also cuts out drive time.
Use naps wisely.
I was able to disciple one gal per week when I had two littles. It worked out perfectly because just as my boys were going down for their afternoon naps, the local high school was getting out. She would come to me (so I was not paying a babysitter) and we would sit at my dining room table. As my kids grew, they could watch a movie, play quietly, etc. I lead a Bible study once of other moms where the kids would play upstairs and I would usually have a snack for them to eat. Their ages were similar, so it worked out.
Consider the content of your Bible study.
Consider using something in the content portion of your discipleship appointment that does not create a lot of prep work for you during the week. Maybe utilize my Bible study "Start Here Six Foundational Lessons for Growth in Christ." It contains all the answers in the back and an easy-to-follow leaders guide (free PDF download).
Push pause when needed.
Feel free to take breaks from discipleship during Christmas holidays (when things can be crazy) and summers when school-aged kids are home more. I push pause on discipleship for these times when needed. You can always pray for each other, send encouraging text messages, etc. to bridge the gaps.
Group women together.
Consider grouping your women in one group (if you are discipling multiple at different times). Even if they are at different spiritual levels, it can work. The discussion can be rich and if one is further along spiritually, she can help the others grow. In this endeavor, she will gain valuable discipleship experience to use when she disciples others in the future. Once I had a small discipleship group consisting of a solid believer with a newborn baby, a spiritually knowledgeable sophomore in college and a new believer going through a divorce. I grouped them together as I only had time in my schedule for one meeting a week. I was a bit nervous about it but it ended up being a blast! Each week was an adventure!
Recruit kids to help.
As my boys aged, they began to help me when preparing for discipleship. They now straighten up the couch pillows, set out the snacks for both the ladies and kids, answer the door and greet the ladies by name. It’s a family affair now!
You may be wondering, "Is it worth it?"
Is it worth discipling another woman when children are young? Absolutely! As my kids have gotten older, they have witnessed me investing in other women. I have not merely taught them about discipleship and the Great Commission, but I have demonstrated it in front of them.
My greatest hope is that my children would disciple others in junior high, high school and beyond! I hope as they disciple others, they will be able to recall the times they greeted a woman at the door who needed help spiritually. I hope they remember the times they set out the snacks and the times they heard me praying and teaching others from God’s Word. I hope I am their example as other women (who had kids in tow) were my example!
Whether speaking, training, or discipling, Lori brings a passion to see women raised up to be all they can be in the Lord, teaching to women of all ages on a wide variety of topics. She currently makes her home in Katy, TX, with her husband Alan and two young children Josh and Jake.