"I wasn't gaining any traction": How One Mom Learned to Disciple Her Kids

May 11, 2020


Mary Thomas wanted to intentionally disciple her four boys, but she couldn’t seem to make it happen. That objective became a perpetual item on her parenting to-do list. “I felt like I didn’t have the tools to make it happen,” Mary said. “It became a ‘goal’ year after year, but I wasn’t gaining any traction.”

When Mary was invited to audit Discipleship in the Home with Dr. Matt Friedeman, she initially hesitated and considered buying the book by Dr. Friedeman instead. But Mary decided that if she really wanted to be intentional about discipling her kids, she needed to take the learning opportunity offered by the course.

“God designed the family to be the primary discipling vehicle for His Kingdom”

Dr. Matt Friedeman

Discipleship in the Home is a course offered by Wesley Biblical Seminary that provides insightful biblical teaching on family and practical tools to put the Bible’s guidance into practice with your own family. It is a required course for MDiv students at Wesley Biblical Seminary, but other students and auditors are welcome to take it as well.

“God designed the family to be the primary discipling vehicle for His Kingdom,” said Dr. Friedeman. “In this course, we equip parents to take practical steps to help their kids become lifelong followers of Jesus who change the world.”

For Mary and her family, the course has reinvigorated their commitment to family discipleship. Mary and her family made changes to their dinner time routine to create a space and time for discipleship, based on principles from the course. She is also considering making a career change to spend more time teaching and discipling her children.

“I realized that I had often viewed my own children as a hindrance to my ministry and my interests,” Mary shared. “The Holy Spirit convicted me, and I began to really enjoy my children.”

“Instead of counting down the hours to bedtime so I could ‘get stuff done,’ I found myself wanting more and more time with them.”

Mary can list off the key lessons that she gained in the course: “Prioritizing my marriage over my parenting, realizing that biblical literacy for our children is primarily our responsibility, and setting goals for what we desire in our children, then reorienting our schedules, values, and resources to achieve those goals.”

“I’m always excited to hear students each semester who are taking concepts from this course and putting them into practice,” Friedeman said. “I’m even more excited about the decades ahead when these parents will get to see the effect of their discipling efforts.”

Mary is thankful that she audited the course. Her advice for anyone considering an audit? “Go for it! Yes, there are things to learn from the books, but you also get the class time, the accountability of processing through your own journey, and the discipleship groups with folks around the globe who love Jesus and are running toward the same goal.”

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