In a culture where we’re all under the public eye, from everyday scrutiny on Facebook and the school pickup line, to media stories of affluenza teens and zoo trips gone wrong, the pressure to be a perfect parent is high, especially for Christians. Fortunately, God doesn’t demand parents to be perfect or to raise perfect children; instead He calls for faithfulness to Him. Christian parents are instructed to train and lead their children to Jesus, but kids are not a parenting report card. That truth can give the freedom to parent with love and patience, trusting God to do the rest. Many parents desire that kind of relationship with their children, but don’t know where to begin. In Total Family Makeover: 8 Practical Steps to Making Disciples at Home (Abingdon Press/ September 20, 2016/ISBN 978-1501820656/$16.99), Melissa Spoelstra gives parents easy-to-follow steps to help disciple their children to be true Jesus followers.
Often parents long to help their children grow deep, intimate relationships with God but are overwhelmed at the enormity of the task. Spoelstra gives practical steps that build upon one another to give parents a proverbial path to run on, freeing them from decision paralysis and enabling them to take solid steps toward growth alongside their children. Total Family Makeover focuses first on the state of the parents’ hearts. Using the analogy of an oxygen mask on an airplane, she encourages parents first to put on their own spiritual “oxygen mask” before attempting to help their children.
“God calls us to answer our kids’ questions, train them and lovingly discipline them without exasperating them. So when they obey, that must mean we are succeeding; and when they disobey, we’ve missed the mark. Right?” Spoelstra asks. “Wrong. I’ve come to understand and embrace something profound. God modeled perfect parenting. He walked in the garden in close relationship with Adam and Eve. He clearly trained them, giving instructions about which tree was off-limits. Even though he loved his children perfectly, they still disobeyed. God continues to discipline, instruct, and walk with his children. But he doesn’t grade himself according to his children’s successes and failures. Neither should we.”
Total Family Makeover walks parents through building life-long, life-giving spiritual habits with their children by teaching them how to:
· Practice spending time in prayer
· Read God’s Word
· Grow through mentoring
· Find community in the church
· Serve others
· Take time to rest
· Giving back to God
· Sharing their faith
The innovative structure of Total Family Makeover takes parents through each spiritual discipline by first helping them model it in their own lives, followed by a section called “A Practical Approach” in which Spoelstra gives detailed, step-by-step ideas to help parents implement the principles they’ve just learned. Each one builds upon the last, giving a deep, well-rounded approach to moving beyond behavior to real discipleship.
Discipleship and spiritual growth are rarely easy, but they don’t have to be complicated. With Total Family Makeover, parents can be equipped to build meaningful family memories while investing in the eternal well-being of their children.
Total Family Makeover is a recipient of a Gold Award from the Mom’s Choice Awards for excellence in family-friendly media, products and services.
“We parents are so busy devouring books on how to get our kids on elite sports teams or into the best schools for their future that we might be missing establishing the core values they will need to literally survive. This practical handbook for busy parents offers easy steps we can do today to ensure a better tomorrow for our children. Melissa writes with a practical no-nonsense approach that I find relatable and refreshing. It’s a ‘don’t miss’ book for any household!”
~ Kerri Pomarolli, comedian, actress and author of Moms’ Night Out and Other Things I Miss
“Do you want your children to love Jesus and follow Him forever? While there are no magic formulas, in the Bible God gives you specific things you can do toward the mission of impressing the hearts of your kids with a love for God. This book is full of those biblical principles and action steps! You will come away with simple but powerful practices that will bless your family for generations to come.”
~ Dr. Rob Rienow, founder Visionary Family Ministries
“So many of us moms are overwhelmed by our daily responsibilities, and intimidated by the idea of teaching our children about Jesus and the Bible. Melissa encourages us to be confident and intentional in our training, and to be thankful for all our mommy experiences. Through her fun family stories, she shares practical and creative ways to give our children the knowledge of God’s love, each day.”
~ Gina San Martin, MOPS Discussion Group Leader/Assistant Coordinator, Dublin, OH
About the author
Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages to seek Christ and know Him more intimately through serious Bible study. She has a deep, abiding passion for studying God’s word and teaching others to do the same.
Spoelstra holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible Theology from Moody Bible Institute and enjoys teaching God's Word to diverse groups and churches within the body of Christ. She is the author of First Corinthians: Living Love When We Disagree (released in August), Joseph: The Journey to Forgiveness, and Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World Bible studies and Total Family Makeover: 8 Steps to Making Disciples at Home book (all available from Abingdon Press at www.abingdonpress.com/melissaspoelstra).
As a parent, Spoelstra has struggled in the past with knowing how to help her kids love and follow Jesus in a world that is pulling them in many directions. Total Family Makeover was born from her own biblical studies and experiences with her children. Spoelstra wants to inspire parents to keep pursuing Jesus and implementing ideas to help their kids develop their own relationships with Him.
Spoelstra describes herself as a small-town girl from East Texas, but now resides Dublin, Ohio, with her church planter/pastor husband of 20 years and their four children.
To keep up with Melissa Spoelstra, visit melissaspoelstra.com. You can also follow her on Facebook (AuthorMelissaSpolestra) and Twitter (@MelSpoelstra).