LITTLE ROCK – A world map hangs in the hallway of Tim and Caitlyn Robnett’s home. Surrounding the map are pictures of missionaries with strings connecting them to where they are currently serving and sharing God’s word.
The more than 20 photographs include missionaries found around the world, from North America to Cambodia, that Tim and Caitlyn know from their previous time in Asia, school or their church, Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock.
“It’s missionaries that we know personally. At some point or another, our kids have gotten to meet most of those people. They come through Little Rock, and we have them at our house,” Caitlyn said.
The map is just one of the ways Tim and Caitlyn disciple their children – Scotty, 6, and Naomi, 4 – about missions.
As they pass the map on the way to bed, Tim and Caitlyn ask their children who they want to pray for that night, and they pray for the missionary and the people they are trying to reach with the Gospel.
Additionally, at breakfast time, the couple reads to Scotty and Naomi from “Window on the World,” a child version of “Operation World,” a volume of prayer information about the world.
“I feel like we’re not great at these things, but there are natural times throughout the day when kids are naturally calmer and more in a frame of mind to listen and that’s at bedtime and mealtimes. I’d like to be more intentional at dinner time too,” Tim said.
Participating in Mission Friends, a Woman’s Missionary Union discipleship group for preschoolers from birth through kindergarten, at the church has also made an impact on their children. Caitlyn said Naomi will often come home wanting to pray for people in Brazil, or wherever she learned about that night.
Tim noted also they have been blessed with the opportunity to often have internationals at their home.
“We supper together and our kids play together. After they leave, we’ll talk about it with the kids and pray for them,” Tim said. “We try to teach our kids that they can have a role to play in it too.”
Caitlyn said there are many opportunities and resources to bring missions discipleship into the home, but you must be intentional in doing it.
One resource is Woman’s Missionary Union, which is a provider of resources for missions discipleship so that the church and Christian parents can be faithful in equipping children and students to embrace the heart of God – a heart of missions.
Missions discipleship involves praying for missions, doing missions, supporting missions, developing spiritually toward a missions lifestyle, and participating in the work of the church and denomination.
“We’re just praying that the Lord uses those seeds one day,” Caitlyn said. “… I think we’ve always wanted to teach them that the world is so much bigger than them and their needs and desires, and I feel like that is one of the hardest things as parents to do.”
Debbie Moore, who serves on the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Missions Team as the Arkansas WMU executive director, said the Bible makes clear that parents have the primary responsibility for discipling their children. Caitlyn and Tim take Deuteronomy 6:4-8 seriously as they model what making disciples at home looks like.
“When parents live for Christ as His disciples in every area of their lives their children cannot help but take notice,” Moore said.
Though the church partners with parents to make disciples of the next generation, churches cannot replace parents and parents cannot be independent of the church.
“It’s still our job. If (our children) don’t see us doing it then why would they care,” Caitlyn said. “It’s important to us. We want it to be important to them.”
It is the Great Commission, she added.
“It is a command. It’s not a suggestion. I just feel very passionate about it. I don’t want to just raise a good Christian kid. I want to raise a disciple who makes disciples,” Caitlyn said.