Total Family Makeover: 8 Practical Steps to Making Disciples at Home
You want to disciple your children, but, you’re unsure where to begin. In Total Family Makeover, Melissa Spoelstra offers the tools to equip you for investing in the eternity of your child. Through practical steps, Spoelstra takes parents on a journey that releases them from “report-card parenting” and opens new opportunities for meaningful discipleship. In an interview with Faith Filled Family Magazine, Spoelstra offered a personal look at her book:
What makes Total Family Makeover unique from other parenting books on the market?
It is different from other parenting books in that it gives parents a place to start and a track to run on when it comes to discipling their children. Each step builds on the previous one as parents find practical tools they can implement in their own families right away. The Total Family Makeover isn’t focused on getting kids to respond; rather it’s a challenge for parents to be intentional in showing their children what it looks like to follow Jesus. All too often, parents view their kids’ behavior as a report card. When their kids get awards or make good decisions, they feel like A+ parents. When their children get in trouble or struggle with moral issues, they see a big red F at the top of the page.
God was the perfect parent, and his kids still rebelled. By looking at the way Jesus lived alongside and trained his disciples, the Total Family Makeover shifts our focus from grading ourselves based on our kids’ behavior to pursuing God wholeheartedly. Many times parents expend more energy and effort in planning birthday parties and vacations than they do making plans to teach their children to pray, read the Bible, serve, etc. The Total Family Makeover gives parents encouragement from Scripture and practical tools to make small changes that will bring lasting spiritual impact in their families.
Does your book address issues at all stages of parenting, or is it best suited for families at a specific stage of life?
From babes in arms to college-aged children, we can all reflect on what we are modeling in own lives when it comes to spiritual disciplines like prayer, Bible study, mentoring, etc. The training will look different as our children grow and mature. We will move from authority to advisor as our children grow up, but the practical ideas in this book should be a springboard for seeking to be intentional in helping our children follow Jesus at any age and stage.
What do you hope parents are thinking when they finish the last page of your book?
I hope parents are thinking, “Small changes yield big dividends when it comes to spiritual rhythms. I’m so excited to implement some new ideas as we disciple our children!” I also hope they can release the negative self-talk that comes when we make our children our report cards. I pray they will experience freedom from short-term results with a bigger picture of long-term discipleship.
What advice do you have for grandparents who want to pour into their grandkids spiritually, especially those whose children are not walking with Christ?
These ideas work great with grandchildren! While always respecting the child’s parents, grandkids will greatly benefit from learning to pray, read God’s word, serve, rest, etc. For example, the mentoring questions parents can ask their children on special outings work equally well for grandparents. The practical ideas in the Total Family Makeover will help grandparents intentionally invest in teaching their grandkids what it means to follow the Lord.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your family?
I grew up in a small town in East Texas, then went to the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and started out in Christian Education. I fell in love with my Bible and theology classes and switched my major to Bible theology. I love to study God’s word and am amazed at how God speaks when I take the time to listen and seek.
I’ve been married for 20 years and serve alongside my church planter/pastor husband in Dublin, Ohio. We have four children, ages 13-19. As a parent, I have struggled with how to help my kids love and follow Jesus in a world pulling them in many directions. My husband and I have had our fair share of struggles — failed family devotions and behavior modification strategies that didn’t work. We haven’t done it all right, but we have learned to persevere in being intentional in modeling and training. If you aim for nothing, you hit it every time, so I want to inspire parents to keep pursuing Jesus and implementing ideas to help their kids develop their own relationships with Him.
Faith Filled Family Magazine would like to thank Melissa Spoelstra for offering these helpful insights into her passion-filled work. Additional thanks to Audra Jennings, Litfuse Publicity Group, for facilitating the interview.
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