Book Review: The Disciple-Making Parent
This is Hollie Echevarria's review of The Disciple-Making Parent, written by Chap Bettis (Diamond Hill Publishing, 2016, 307 pages). The book is available online or in our bookstore.
As a parent, I particularly hold fast to the truth that when I am weak, He is strong. What great consolation it is to know that His powerful strength sustains us, in the hallelujah victories and in the dimness of failure.
The beauty of the gospel in parenting encompasses so much more than curving our children’s behaviors or graciously wrestling with daily responsibilities. It is about caring for our children’s souls
J. C. Ryle so eloquently convicts,
Precious, no doubt, are these little ones in your eyes; but if you love them, think often of their souls… No part of them should be dear to you as that part which will never die… In every step you take about them, in every plan, and scheme, and arrangement that concerns them, do not leave out the mighty question, ‘How will this affect their souls?’
Jesus commissioned His followers in Matthew 28, to go therefore and make disciples. This is the premise of Chap Bettis’s The Disciple-Making Parent. That we go therefore into our homes and make disciples, to cultivate a disciple-making family. Bettis work is a comprehensive guidebook for raising your children to love and follow Jesus Christ. It is not one that is to be read and placed neatly on the shelf with all our other parenting books, but one that we return to for encouragement and insight throughout the privileged years of having our children under our wings.
He begins his exhortation with a gentle, sobering reminder that “the first battleground of family discipleship is not my child’s heart; it is my heart.” Thinking biblically of our call as parents and understanding our own gospel-needs, gives feet to our faith during the changes and challenges of making disciples of those entrusted to our care.
Bettis organizes his book based on the idea of Power. Undoubtingly, the power that comes from above.
The Power of Example: parents watching their lives closely, loving their spouse, connecting their children with others to build a God-fearing community around them.
The Power of the Gospel: preparing our children’s souls for the good news, speaking the gospel to our children, teaching them the reality of their flesh and the Spirit.
The Power of the Heart: connecting with the heart of our children, using skillful communication to cultivate that connection and restoring our hearts when brokenness occurs.
The Power of the Word: nourishing our children with the life-imparting Scriptures through talks, teaching, and devotions.
The Power of Purpose: helping our children live for the Kingdom, to deny worldliness yet enjoy life.
The Power of Prayer: praying for our children and teaching them how to pray.
The Power of Apologetics: giving our children a reason for the hope they have as doubts arise.
The Power of Friends: teaching our children about the influences they surround themselves with and how to please God with media and the arts.
The Power of Seeking God: encouraging our children to walk by the Spirit, truly seeking after God, and the source of our true disciple-making.
Bettis’ book is a vessel to strengthen us, setting before us a purposeful framework to carry out the great commission in the most important place—our homes. He fuels our minds and hearts to think on the ultimate intent of God who grants us the delight and responsibility of Christian parenting—that His Glory may be known as His Kingdom flourishes in the lives of our children. What fruit there will be in the generations to come! There is no greater joy!