the shape of leadership

Six Ways for Parents to Share Their Faith

Encouraging discipleship at home

Influence Magazine on June 28, 2019

Many parents struggle to find the right way to share their faith with children in the home, so they leave it to the kids’ pastors. Yet no one is more influential in the lives of boys and girls than their parents.

The Bible tells moms and dads not to neglect the responsibility of passing on God’s truths to the next generation. Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Kids don’t need flawless explanations of every theological concept. They do need parents who care about them and their faith journeys. Encourage the mothers and fathers in your congregation to do these six simple things:

1. Tell Their Story

Children need to hear parents talk about their own faith. Moms and dads can tell their kids about how they came to know Jesus, being specific about the difference He has made in their lives. Kids love stories, so age-appropriate details are helpful.

2. Read Scripture

It makes a big impression on children when their mothers or fathers read the Bible to and with them. Parents can offer simple explanations of the text, or use a children’s version that is easier for kids to understand.

It makes a big impression on children when their mothers or fathers read the Bible to and with them.

Moms and dads should also discuss how the principles in God’s Word apply to their children’s everyday lives. For example, the Golden Rule reminds kids to be considerate of their siblings and classmates.

3. Pray Together

Family prayer time is powerful. It doesn’t have to be as structured as a formal prayer meeting. But it should happen consistently and often — such as a simple prayer during the car ride to school, over dinner each night, and at bedtime.

4. Prioritize Church

An important way to grow in faith is through regular church attendance. There are many activities that compete for the attention of today’s children, but making church a priority helps teach them to seek God first. In addition to Sunday services, families can take advantage of opportunities to participate in camps, retreats and other church events.

5. Serve Together

A great way for parents to share their faith is by putting it on display through volunteering. This is a perfect time for moms and dads to explain what they’re doing and why. Because parents follow Jesus, they want to do something for Him. And serving others is a way to show the love of God. Parents can call out the gifts and talents they see in their children, and help them find ways to use them for Jesus.

6. Encourage Growth

As kids develop their own relationships with God and mature in their faith, parents can let them know how proud they are of them. It helps to be specific about what moms and dads have seen in their children. Parents should reinforce the positives, even when they discipline the negatives.

Celebrating big moments, like water baptism, as well as everyday events, like acts of generosity, are ways to remind a child that faith is foundational in his or her family. Even a handwritten note or a quick spoken word at bedtime can do wonders for a child’s faith development.

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