Total Family Makeover

Total Family Makeover

Total Family Makeover: 8 Practical Steps to Making Disciples at Home (Abingdon, September 2016)

Train children in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it. —Proverbs 22:6

God calls us as parents to be key disciple-makers in our children’s lives, but if we’re honest, some days it’s a battle just to get them dressed and ready for school on time. How can you mold their hearts when sometimes you can’t even find their shoes?

In Total Family Makeover, author Melissa Spoelstra gives parents a way—a sort of spiritual track to run on—when it comes to building family discipleship. She focuses on eight key habits of growth:

—Spending Time in Prayer
—Reading God’s Word
—Growing Through a Mentoring Relationship
—Finding Community in the Church
—Serving Others
—Taking Time to Rest
—Giving Back to God
—Sharing Your Faith

Disciples are made, not born. Whether your children are babes in arms or teenagers getting ready to leave the nest, making disciples at home starts with you! Give your family a makeover with this practical approach to helping your children learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Learn more and purchase a copy.


  • Raventhreads says:

    I found this to be nice refresher of how my walk can be used to model the Christian walk for my children. I was also reminded of many attitudes that frustrate me in my children that are actually perfectly reasonable childish responses to the gospel. I truly felt like I was being ministered to by someone else who was in the trenches of parenting and had made some of the same mistakes that I had along the way, and I appreciated the author’s advice and transparency.

  • Q: What do you most want parents to take away from Total Family Makeover?

    Melissa: I pray parents see that making disciples at home doesn’t have to overwhelming. We found small changes can yield big results by taking the time to model and train what it means to follow Jesus along the journey of life. As we get intentional about training our children rather than grading ourselves based on our child’s current behavior, then God does the Total Family Makeover!

  • Even though I’m in the home stretch with my own children, I found there is still a great deal of value to be found in these pages. The eight steps to making disciples is broken down into logical suggestions with Biblical principles and a few examples of implementation. The Total Family Makeover offers parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, fun and simple ways to train children up into the disciples God created them to be.

  • In my experience, parenting is not a part-time job. It’s a 24/7/365 job that requirements constant attention and adjustment to how we handle our children and situations. In Total Family Makeover, Melissa Spoelstra gives us 8 areas of family life that we can change and improve to give our family a total family makeover that will grow and disciple our children daily.

  • Total Family Makeover will help you in your parenting and improve your family as shift your parenting style to focus on making disciples of Christ. You don’t want to miss this book!

  • Moments says:

    I really enjoyed this book, it was eye opening and also a gentle reminder to enjoy these moments of raising my children and not being too hard on myself. Melissa’s book focuses on molding, and raising children to live their lives as disciples of God. This book is divided into eight sections, each focusing on a key habit.

  • An easy fast paced read that will help you along the way with your family.

    This book is divided into 8 different parts that is focused on one key at a time. The author covered a lot in this book but,it is very helpful.The layout is very easy to go by as well.

  • Being a mom is a full-time job. Honestly I don’t like to use the word “job,” but let’s just say it’s a full-time responsibility. Of course I wouldn’t have it any other way. On top of all that responsibly, comes a million other things that do tend to fill up my schedule. Whether or not a day is busier than normal there is one thing for certain, I always try to get that special one on one time with God. I also try to do the same for my son. He is still quite young, but my main focus is teaching him God’s word, so he can develop a close relationship with Him throughout life.

  • The author does a great job showing you the in’s and out’s of discipling your family and she gives excellent recommendations to get you headed in the right direction.

  • Angela Mills says:

    I enjoyed and highlighted this book so much that I am going to now re-read through it with my husband and have a weekly date to discuss the content. We have been Christian parents for years and only have our 13 year old daughter left at home, but we’re all entering a new phase of life (her as a teen, and only child at home, us as parents of a new teen and new grandparents, too.) I think it’s a perfect time to reevaluate our methods and be inspired to disciple our daughter.

  • Pray Species says:

    This book was a wonderful reminder that my kids and their ability to follow God’s path should be my main focus in my everyday; not whether the mother next to me notices how many words my son knows for his age or if the lady in the grocery store saw our potty accident.

    Spoelstra reminds us that even small acts of faith within a family can have a big impact in our children’s lives and in developing their relationship with God.

  • When I read this, I realized that I had the very book I’d been searching for in my hands.I think that this book is an excellent tool for parents that aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to spiritually training their children. The format is clear and simple, so busy parents don’t feel overwhelmed. And it points us to Jesus, over and over again.

  • Lindsey Bell says:

    One thing I loved about the book was how practical it is. In the prayer chapter, for instance, I walked away with two very specific plans in place of how I was going to start praying with my kids more. It’s only been a week since I read that chapter, but we have already prayed a lot more together since implementing her ideas!

  • I love this book and the practical information and ideas that it has to help parents make their children into disciples!

  • Easy, practical, makes sense. I loved the format of scripture, stories, and actual activities to do as a family. My husband and I read this together as we tackle what this would like with our now two year old. Great advice and encouragement to us still new parents on concepts to consider as we move forward in our faith and in encouraging the growth of our son’s.

  • Total Family Makeover is everything it should be: inspiring and informative – and packed with practical suggestions any family can use.

  • Total Family Makeover will empower you to teach your children how to pray, manage anger, and experience a media free day weekly as well as many other practical ways to infuse spirituality into your familiy’s way of life. Melissa Spoelstra shares real life stories from the heart and encourages us not just strive for perfection in our parenting but to make small changes that make a lasting difference.

  • Practical guide and couple study for families. The emphasis on being an example and mentoring children of at all ages makes Total Family Makeover a book for families, young or older.

  • This isn’t a book that will burden you and weigh you down with more and more tasks for your to do list. Instead, Spoelstra will encourage you and show you can make small changes now that will have a last impact on your family.

  • Everything suggested in this book is a way to disciple, not discipline your children.  She lists 8 different areas of spiritual growth, including prayer life, Bible reading, and serving others.  Each chapter follows a similar outline, starting with ways to model the spiritual discipline you want to see in your children, with examples given by the ultimate model of spirituality: Jesus.  After that is a section on training, which gives practical ways to teach your children directly.

  • This book lays out simple, do-able, yet absolutely necessary steps and ideas for the spiritual growth of our families. Not only does the author share personal stories and experiences from her own life, but she also backs up her techniques with Scripture. Parenting does not come with a manual but next to the Bible, this book is a great resource for families.

  • The Pelsers says:

    What I like about Total Family Makeover is that Melissa takes each of these aspects of discipleship and breaks it down to the basics.

  • Book Reviews says:

    WOW. I couldn’t be more glad or thankful that I started to read this book. I couldn’t stop reading it. There was so much in this book that spoke to my heart as a parent trying to raise my children for God. Melissa Spoelstra’s writing is easy and engaging to read. She doesn’t expect you to do things exactly like her but invites you to create these 8 steps in ways that will fit your family.

  • This was a great book about how to help your children grow to be disciples and not just church-goers. I recommend it to anyone with small children.

  • Total Family Makeover provides direction and insight on how to be an effective disciple-maker in your child’s life. Filled with practical advice and supported by scripture as well as family activities, this one is a winner. Total Family Makeover would make a great text for a small group study.

  • I enjoyed delving into the eight key habits Spoelstra highlights and found encouragement and inspiration within each one. Whether you are just starting a family or are in the later stages of child rearing, Total Family Makeover offers a practical approach for spiritual growth.

  • I really love the way Melissa writes as it is conversational rather than preachy. As a busy parent, I’m more likely to take the time to read through something that feels more like chatting with a girlfriend than an ‘expert’ telling me all I am doing wrong and what I should be doing.

  • I loved this 205 page book, it was easy to read, easy to follow, and has honestly made me want to grow deeper with Christ as a family. Thank you Melissa for a fantastic book . . .

  • I love that this book expresses your kids are not your report card. They are unique individuals, and even the best parents can have kids that struggle. Just stay the course and work on creating discipleship in your family, not “the perfect family”.

  • Total Family Makeover is written conversationally, and points to Jesus throughout as our model for discipling. This is a great resource for families with young children, as well as those of us who may be nearing the finish of our in-home parenting. It will be a great book to pass on to my children when/if the grand kids begin to arrive.

  • Reflections says:

    Spoelstra uses relevant personal stories to give examples of understanding from a parent who has been there. She comes across as honest and relatable, which is helpful to the reader. As a parent myself with 3 children in different life stages this book is practical and helpful.

  • Knowing that WE are called to be disciple makers in our children’s lives can be incredibly intimidating, especially on top of other parenting responsibilities! There’s no magic formula, but we do have the Bible which is full of instructions for us as parents to use with our kids. What I love about Melissa’s book is her fun way of breaking down this calling in our lives and making it so much less intimidating. She shares stories, and practical Biblically based approaches for focusing on long-term, intentional spiritual training.

  • Most of what Spoelstra recommends is something we should all be doing anyway. She goes into great depth and gives a lot of helpful ideas and advice along with discussion questions for small groups.

    Spoelstra’s practical approach gives parents a path to follow in discipling our children.

  • First – the cover is adorable and definitely made me want to pick up the book. Second, I loved the author’s writing style. She made the information interesting. Her practical advice wasn’t overwhelming and I finished feeling encouraged and inspired.

  • kcreatives says:

    I loved her introduction about the report card. So true! I loved the gray boxes that make knowing application easy and easy to digest/share.

  • I’m always looking for tips on helping my family to have a strong spiritual life. “Total Family Makeover” is full of various aspects. Each chapter ends with discussion questions & would be a great book to introduce to Church small groups.

  • Sean & Shey says:

    Melissa writes with a familiarity to family life. Even though we’ve never met, through her writing, I feel like she has been a fly on the wall in my living room.

  • I enjoyed the real-life stories included in each section as a way to break into the discussion. The stories were practical, entertaining, and helpful in knowing we are not alone in this crazy parenting journey.

  • Total Family Makeover is filled with many inspiring ideas that any family can implement. The book succeeds in its mission of strengthening families and helping parents raise children who reflect the spiritual qualities of Christ.

  • Parents who use this book will not only instill faith in their children, but will find themselves growing closer to the Lord personally – as well as growing closer as a family. Highly recommended.

  • A great tool for parents looking for help on how to raise up their kids to know and love the Lord, and develop a personal, faith-filled relationship with Him.

  • I need all the tips I can get to help keep my family running smoothly. When I came across Total Family Makeover: 8 Practical Steps to Making Disciples at Home, I knew I just had to read it. I love how there are tips throughout the book and each chapter ends in a spiritual phrase along with an exercising question. There were some great pieces of advice I could incorporate with my family that I knew they could adapt to. I would suggest reading this book if you have young kids to get them trained at a young age about how to work together as a family thru Christ.

  • I really liked the 8 areas she focused on and felt they were very helpful, I have been thinking a lot about showing ones kids how to serve others and am glad this book talked about that, Such a great resource for parents of any kids, regardless of the age!

  • A contemporary modern approach with Biblical perspective. This was an easy book to read.

  • This book isn’t meant to point fingers at bad parenting. It’s to teach parents how to model and train their children to be disciples that glorify God. As the author states, it’s “meant to be a lifelong pursuit, not a list to check off and then expect instant results.” Checking off lists is great for some things, but not parenting.

  • Immediately upon opening Total Family Makeover, I felt encouraged. I love how it immediately emphasizes the major truth that we aren’t graded on our children’s behavior – we aren’t a good mom or a bad mom based on how our kids behave. Our job is to train and disciple them, yes, but we cannot control their heart or their behavior. We have to fulfill our responsibility and pray for the results in our children.

  • “Your Kids Are Not Your Report Card” and other valuable, reaffirming tips make this book a worthwhile read. The practical approach tips to parenting sprinkled throughout the book make it a valuable resource that can be easily implemented. As an extra, there are built in discussion questions which would make it great to use in a group study!

  • Looking for a great book to read with your small mom’s group? Each chapter offers a series of group discussion topics that make this an ideal choice. There are also more questions and scripture references given so that you can dig even deeper into God’s word and how it applies to parenting for the Christian mom.

    This is truly a great read that I feel all moms can benefit from.

  • #Transformed says:

    When you sit down to read, I recommend you read through with a spiral or calendar handy so that you can write down some of the practical “do it now” ideas Melissa provides. She organized each chapter in four sections. The introduction to the concept, ways you as a parent can model that concept, ideas for training your kids in these areas, and wraps everything up with some discussion questions to help the reader process the chapter.

    I think this book would be a wonderful Bible study geared for parents with young children. However, I would also encourage parents who have “been there, done that,” to participate and help us newbies by sharing their wisdom. (Please, we need it!)

  • In every single section, I was convicted of at least one or two things. This book helped me realize more that I fall short of the mark, and I need to rely on God. I like that at the end of each chapter, it has discussion questions, getting into God’s word, and digging deeper.

  • The author goes through some very important aspects of the Christian faith, such as praying, reading the Bible, serving, resting, giving, and other foundational things that the children should be educated on at home. She has an approach to each of these things that is practical and easily applied to your real life. There are lots of discussion questions included with each topic that will help you dig deeper in God’s word about each topic, and there are lots of questions you can use to start a discussion with your children. I loved this book. It was easy to read and down to earth and I can definitely apply so much of this to my everyday life!

  • I thought this book was absolutely fantastic! Chock full of practical ideas, but with the wise advice to pick a few ideas that are feasible for your family instead of trying to do them all, this book had the perfect balance between theory and practical application.

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