Missional Man Podcast
Tools for the modern Christian man.

Ep#013: John Murchison, Identity & Discipling Kids

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Summary & Intro

john murchison 1

John Murchison – Christ-follower, husband, daddy of two girls, Director of Children’s Ministry at Austin Stone Church in Austin, TX, Director of the Family Channel at the Verge Network, lover of the mission and living intentional missional lives for King Jesus, recovering perfectionist and performer for the praise of people (like me!), all around fun, down-to-earth nice guy!

Recap & Synopsis

Listen this week as John Murchison and I  discuss identity and discipling kids. As you listen, you’ll discover this is way more than a conversation about discipling kids. It’s also about learning how to discover your identity, what you get your identity from and how to recognize what shapes your identity, how to help other kids and your own children walk in their true identity and how to equip your own heart in the identity discovery journey. This has been one (among many) of my favorite interviews and guests so far on the show. John and I have very similar stories and are in similar seasons of life in parenting. You’ll love John’s story, his clear communication and his honest look at his own identity struggle as a young 9-year-old kid. This is a very revealing and empowering talk. I pray it blesses you as it did me!

*The following are my favorite top quotes from John and I. Use them freely and widely, but please offer credit where credit is due. For full show notes, click and download link below. Thanks.


I don’t think enough time is given by children’s ministers or parents in thinking about how their children see themselves and where that comes from.

I can remember liking praise. When you do good things you get praise. I was a smart kid. I learned to read quickly. Math came naturally. God gave me that gift. People praised me for it. I wanted to get that praise so I moved further into it. I wanted to be the first to get the right answer and be the first to finish my multiplication sheets. More than wanted to I needed to because that’s how I got validation as a person. It came from a lot of places: parents’ praise, peer envy or my own self analysis as “this is how I’m different and unique in the world.”

We’re significant because we’re made by God and loved by God. Given purpose by Him. Our fleshly natures crave that and fill it with whatever: fun, rebellion, independence, praise.

I still struggle with those two identities: who I am in Christ and my fleshly identity seeking perfectionism and achievement.

God happened, by God’s grace it’s still happening so I can continue living in freedom not in slavery to this identity of perfectionism.

I’ve even noticed my own tendency as to want to attach labels on them almost unwittingly and I catch myself prescribing identity to my girls. (Jonathan)

I want her to have identities that are secure that she doesn’t have to work at or fear losing, cause that creates a very unstable place for all of us to be in.

Be careful to complement your kids to the inside not the outside. You want to tell your daughters they are beautiful. For example, “you look beautiful in that dress” vs. “you are beautiful and I love that dress on you”. One speaks to the dress being beautiful, the other speaks to her as a person being beautiful. That subtle shift is one that I think is more important than I initially realized when I became a parent. Because I see how my daughters react with those two different statements.

Tension Of Identity in our kids being taught vs. being caught

Kids are going to develop an identity, a way of seeing themselves whether we are intentional or not. In one sense that is more of a caught identity.

We need to teach identity to our kids the same way God teaches identity. He calls us His children first and calls us to activity second. The first half of Ephesians is all about who we are in Christ, the second half is what we are to do in response. The order is important, otherwise we think what we do for God is what makes us who we are. Nothing is further from the truth.

Christ is who you are and on top of that I love you, those two statements are powerful.



Action Round (1 Take-away & 1 Action-Item)

1 TA (One take-away for YOU to think about)

Men need to not lay up more heavy burdens on their backs to say I’ve been doing it all wrong. First and foremost remember there is only One perfect Father and that’s God the Father, one perfect missionary and that’s Jesus the Son. Freedom for everyone feeling burdened. God will use your successes and failures in parenting and being on mission in order to accomplish his good and perfect will in your life and others. Rest in your identity. Don’t leave thinking you have to do a lot of activity. It does lead to activity. But rest in that.

1 AI (One action-item for YOU to go do.)

1. Be the spouse who reminds your spouse of their identity in Christ: that they are loved regardless of their behavior, personality and words. They are loved by God and you unconditionally.

2. Be a parent who first speaks to identity and not activity. Make sure your kids know they are loved because of who they are by words you use. That your instruction is rooted in that not implied that “if you do this I love you more” or “if you do this I love you less”.


John on Twitter

John on Verge Network

John’s Article: On Mission To Your Children

On Mission With Your Children

Favorite Resource on this Topic

Give them Grace – Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus

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