I hear the lazy days of summer coming quickly to a close! No, technically fall does not begin until September 22, but who really feels like any of September is summer? For me, summer draws to a close as the school bells begin ringing. There is something nice and needed about a slower pace in summer. I always enjoy knowing that my wife and children have extra time to rest and play. We all love getting away on vacations.
However, there is also something nice and needed about the structure of the fall - of getting back into a routine that helps us be productive and timely. One thing on my mind as I look to the fall is how am I going to disciple my family this fall? From September through December is four months - that is 1/3 of a year! How will I capitalize on that time to help lead my family closer to the Lord?
Spontaneity is great, and some great moments of teaching our children come unexpectedly. However, most things worth building are worth planning to build. I have learned, as with preaching, that the better prepared I am, the more likely I will be ready for those spontaneous moments when they do come.
Dad (or Mom if Dad is not around or won't), sit down the next week for an hour or so and ask the Holy Spirit to help you map out a plan for how you will lead your family in the coming months in family worship. You might take them through a book of the Bible. Or a character study of a Bible hero. Or a topical study of some character traits. I have heard of several families before taking one character trait a month and studying passages that speak to that quality. One year we took a few months and went through the eleventh chapter of Hebrews verse by verse. We had many discussions about the Bible characters in the great "Hall of Faith" and the lessons God was teaching each one.
I have found much help using the Family Night Toolchests from Focus on the Family. They provide simple, interactive family devotions and games around certain topics: the 10 commandments, basic Christian beliefs, the Proverbs, etc. I have purchased all of mine used from Amazon. One example is the 10 Commandments Family Night Tool Chest.
I know how easy it is to let our schedules get full and let too many opportunities slip by when I had nothing planned to share with my family. Prepare now, dads! It doesn't have to be perfect. Just start somewhere and do something.
Shaping their spirit, mind, and character from God's Word is one of our most important tasks. The Bible says to take God's commandments and teach them diligently to our children (Deut. 6:7). Let's give it our best this fall.