Using Table Conversations to Disciple your Children

Recently I came across an article about the value of having family table conversations. It reminded me about a talk given by Freda Ricord at one of my first MOPS meetings. She encouraged MOPS moms (and dads) to take advantage of our time around the table to “feed our children’s bellies AND feed their souls.” Meaning, be intentional with the time you have when your kids are happily eating and bring up conversations about Jesus.

It’s a perfect time while your kids are feeling satisfied with their food and sitting down. Engage and let them know what matters most to you. Your conversations don’t have to be long and drawn out.

I will admit, this worked well while my kids were young. Once evening activities and sports invaded our mealtime pattern, we let this precious time slip away.

Mealtimes aren’t the only way to guide your kids on their spiritual journey. Some families read a devotional with their kids just before bed and choose a devotional book that is short and sweet. Some families have a time of prayer – allowing their children to pray for the needs of the day out loud. Some families memorize Scripture together or have some sort of challenge among their kids to earn a reward.

Every family is different and there’s no set rules or formulas on how to bring Jesus into our lives each day. The important thing is to be intentional.

The beautiful thing about bringing up conversations about Jesus around the table is that it becomes like a discipline every day since everyone has to eat! Whether your kids are toddlers or teens, we all have at least five minutes in our day.

Here are some questions recommended by the Spiritual Parenting resource you might consider asking your kids while you’re feeding their bellies:

  1. What is one special thing God showed you today?
  2. Name two things you are thankful for today.
  3. What were some of your challenges today and how do you think God can help you overcome them?
  4. What are some ways we can be the hands and feet of Christ and help someone we know who’s in need?

Family meals are also a great time to build our children up and praise their behavior. Bring up things you observed throughout the day. I actually use this practice while I am on mission trips with students and I’m amazed at how far a little praise will go. So often the world pushes us down and tells us where we aren’t measuring up … we get to find ways to build into our kids’ personhood and character. This habit also teaches them how to build up and encourage others in their life.

I would love to hear about your special Jesus mealtime sharing. In fact, videotape some conversations and we will find a way to share them with our broader congregation! Email me at [email protected]
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