For the first time, I am having a man come on the podcast to talk to the moms as well as the dads, and he just so happens to be my favorite guy, very handsome and I’m also married to him! 🙂 Join me as I interview my husband, Josh Allen.
If you would like to listen to this interview as a PODCAST CLICK HERE or use your preferred podcasting app.
Josh and I have been married for 12 years, and he has been in full-time ministry that whole time. We now live in Memphis, TN and have two boys, Jake and James, which you have likely heard about by now…unless you are new, and if so, welcome! In addition, for the last two years, we have been church planters, where Josh is the lead pastor at Transform Church in East Memphis.
I asked Josh to come on and share with the dads about getting more involved in the spiritual growth of their kids beyond just Sunday. This is something that I think a lot of us moms want, but we just really aren’t sure how to communicate it in a respectful way. Obviously, dads won’t typically be reading blogs for moms or subscribed to the Faithful 31 Moms podcast, right? So just make it easy and send your husband this link to read or THIS PODCAST LINK to listen while he’s mowing the yard, driving to work or something like that.
Before Josh and I were parents, we started out in youth ministry and quickly realized that some parents thought if they dropped their kids off at church, then that was them doing their part spiritually, and they didn’t have to do anything else at home to help their kids grow. We learned a lot from that experience, that it is FIRST the home’s responsibility to teach your kids about Jesus and not the church. So Josh, how important is it to be unified as a couple in raising your kids to keep Jesus at the center of both your marriage and your parenting?
JOSH: Mallory and I are big believers that parents are the primary disciple makers of their kids, and you should never outsource discipleship; that’s what we saw a lot being in youth ministry. We talk a lot, not just as a couple, but as a church, how we have a burden for the next generation, because we see so many young people that are not following Jesus. The truth is, for Christian parents, it starts at home.
We get that from Deuteronomy 6, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
The biblical idea of discipleship begins at home. It’s not outsourced to anyone else, and definitely not to a youth group, a mentor, a counselor or anyone else. They can all aid in that discipleship process, but it does not absolve you from being a part of it!
So how can you be unified as a couple? There are 2 things that are really important:
- Jesus can’t be a Sunday-only conversation topic. So many families take their kids to church, drop them off or attend a service together, but that’s the only time in the week where Jesus is even mentioned or talked about. HE must be a part of every single day! This is what Deuteronomy 6 is talking about…”You should put them on the doorposts of your home. You should constantly be talking about these things.”
- Couples MUST have conversations with one another to stay unified, as they seek to invest into the lives of their kids spiritually. So for example, Mallory and I over the past couple of weeks, have been talking with one another about how our oldest son, Jake, we believe has become increasingly materialistic lately and asking for things all the time. As parents, that concerns us, because we don’t want to raise kids that are obsessed with stuff or getting more things…We want to raise kids that are grateful for what they have and love Jesus. So, Mallory and I recently had some time away together, and we spent a lot of time talking about what we could do about this issue, among others, to better raise our kids to be thankful and how to know and live for Jesus better.
So you’ve got to make sure that Jesus is not a Sunday-only conversation, and you’ve got to have those intentional conversations as a couple so that you can be unified together when it comes to discipline and implementing plans to solve problems or to teach them about the Lord.
MALLORY: I totally agree, and I think a lot of couples are so busy, that they just let their schedules overtake their lives, with practices, school and everything else that happens in a week. By bedtime they’re running to get their kids showered and in bed, and they forget to not only have those conversations but also to take intentional time pray and talk to their kids about the Lord daily. We’re guilty of that sometimes, but you really do have to plan! You can’t just drop them off at church and expect for that to be enough. So that’s a really good word, Josh.
Our culture has a lot to say about the roles that we play…How men are supposed to “contribute” to the family and to society. Providing income, mowing the yard, taking out the trash, keeping the cars running, etc…are all stereotypical things that we think of. Don’t get me wrong, those are ALL great things, but the most fulfilling thing is to be your family’s spiritual leader, right? Josh, you do a great job at being intentional at this. So will you just share some ways that you do this in our home, with both our two boys with and me?
JOSH: Absolutely. So I think intentionality, what you just said, is key. I think the enemy wants to do everything he can to keep dads either indifferent or distracted, right? And you talked about that a little bit. You said we’re so busy and focused on other things, but I think you have to make the decision to be intentional with your kids. It’s not just going to randomly come up in your life.
I’m not perfect at this, but here are 3 things I’ve tried to do that aren’t complicated to implement:
- Start a morning or nightly devotional with your kids. Maybe you have kids that can’t read yet and so you want to read to them, or maybe, like Jake, our nine-year-old, you want to let them read on their own. That’s what I’ve been doing with Jake since school started back. I purchased two books, and each weekday morning we read the same devotional separately, then we come together and talk about it. I ask him questions, and we just have a conversation about it. It takes me less than five minutes. You can do something similar with all of your kids at night before bed, as we often do. (The book mentioned is called the One Year Devotional for Active Boys. Amazon link here.)
- PRAY with your kids. I take our boys to school and pray with them every morning in the car. I pray one thing at the end of every prayer: “God, would You let Jake and James be leaders that point people to You in everything they say and do.” I think that’s so important for them to hear that repetition. It’s a simple statement, but I repeat it so they can get it in their heads that we really want this to happen. We also pray with our kids at bedtime. We take turns with one adult and one child praying each night, so they can get used to praying out loud…that’s important. Make it a goal to start somewhere in praying everyday with your kids.
- Be PRESENT in conversations. It’s easy to be a disconnected or distracted dad, that’s looking at his phone or watching sports. But it’s so IMPORTANT to be present at the dinner table or wherever you are, to be a part of conversations with your family, to know what is going on in their lives, so you can better lead them.
If dads do these 3 things, I think they will see significant impact…And it’s not things that you need to go to seminary for. It’s not things that you must read five books first to understand. It’s just normal, everyday intentionality in raising your kids.
What would you say to a dad that wants to be more involved, but he really just doesn’t know how to get started…What would you say to him?
JOSH: It’s no secret that guys like to do things they can win at, right? So getting involved in the spiritual formation of your kids can feel intimidating for every single dad, because many times they don’t know how to win, or if they will be successful in doing what they set out to do. The truth is, for a lot of kids, they didn’t have dads that modeled this for them. They may of had a youth pastor, mentor counselor, Sunday school teacher, etc…but for many they didn’t have a male figure that modeled this well. This leaves men uncertain whether or not they can actually win at this. So, a lot of dads are will say, “I don’t even know where to start. I want to begin to do this. I’m not against this, but I want to win.” There are so many dads that are intimidated even to pray at dinner time over their family, and that is perfectly okay and a normal thing. I think you can begin right now. No matter what’s happened in the past, no matter how old or young your kids are, you can choose to begin today.
- It ALL starts with how you are leading and investing into yourself. Are you in God’s Word? Are you spending time in prayer personally? Because it’s going to be really hard to teach what you are not experiencing personally, right? You’ve got to grow personally in your own life, so that you can have your spiritual tank overflowing to then invest into the lives of your kids.
- Develop a plan. It’s not rocket science! Start by growing personally in the Lord, and then develop a plan for investing into the lives of your kids. So for example, businessman reading this article, you go into work every day and follow a plan that either you have made or contributed to or someone else has made for you, and the goal of every business plan is success, is to win! You want to make more money, sign up more people, serve more people or whatever it is and that is what drives you in your work. Some guys have a health or fitness goal, so you’ve set goals, see a trainer or do whatever it takes! Why do you set a goal? Because there’s something that you’re aiming for. I would say choose the same thing in investing spiritually into your kids. Make a plan and have goals, if you want to stick with it!
- Follow the plan. First, start by praying for your kids personally every day starting this week, without even telling them that you are praying for them. The next week, tell them you are praying and wanted them to know. Then after this, actually sit down and pray with your kids out loud together. From here, a few months in, you may start a devotional in the morning or in the evenings. But I’m telling you, if you want to be somewhere different 1 week, 1 month or 1 year down the road than you are today, you have to identify your goals, make a plan and then follow it, and I promise you, you will see an impact!
JOSH: If there is dad (or mom) that would ever like to reach out to me or Mallory for help on these things in creating a plan, feeling more confident, getting resource ideas, etc., please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help however I can!
I have not arrived or do all of these things we have talked about perfectly either, but I am happy to help anyone and everyone that I possibly can because it’s something that I’m passionate about. We cannot outsource discipleship. We must invest and pass down our faith to the next generation, and it starts in our homes. You can do it, guys. You can do it!
MALLORY: What a great word and so encouraging! This all mirrors the things that Faithful 31 Moms is all about…If you are growing in faithfulness, if you are in the Word, it is going to naturally overflow into your family, into your kids, and the way that you choose to live your life every single day! And thanks to my husband, Josh, for joining me today!!
Here are some of the resource ideas that we mentioned, as well as a few others:
- Listen to the Message: “Dads Who Shoot Straight” by Adrian Rogers.
- One Year Devotional for Active Boys Josh mentioned HERE.
- Check out the Love Worth Finding and Faithful 31 Moms 10 Commandments Family Worship Kit HERE. A great resource for the whole family to do together!
*For more products go to our resources page or to https://www.lwf.org/faithful-31-moms and use code F31M10 for 10% off your purchase!
If you would like to listen to this interview as a PODCAST CLICK HERE or use your preferred podcasting app.
How did you enjoy this interview? Leave us a comment and share it with your husband or a friend!