Sometimes I skim through a book on passing on faith to kids and I feel exceedingly guilty. I’m not doing enough, praying enough, talking about God enough. Ever feel the same way?
How can you teach your kids about God?
Maybe you’re the parent who didn’t grow up in church but you feel like something’s missing in your child’s life and you have no idea where to start.
Or maybe you did the whole enchilada – church 3x/week, Christian school, Christian camp, and devotionals after supper – and are feeling like you can’t possibly live up to those kind of expectations so you haven’t even tried.
Now, my kids are only 7, 5, and 2, but these kids know that God loves them, they love God back, and they know the Bible well. Can I tell you a secret?
We only teach the Bible at home about 20 minutes PER WEEK, and yet when my son was at a Christian kindergarten, his teacher was blown away with how much he knew.
And I’ll tell you another secret. Neither of us has a Bible college or seminary degree.
So what’s happening here?
Does God require parents to have a seminary degree in child evangelism, or can an ordinary parent actually help their kids find faith?
The first answer is NO and the second is YES!
So if you find yourself today feeling a little lost, please know that not all is lost. Your child is not eternally doomed because you don’t have an apologetics degree or even know what apologetics IS (hint, it’s not apologizing, haha).
Here are 4 darn simple ways to help your kids find God.
4 simple ways to teach your kids about God
1. Pray with them
Prayer does not have to be complicated. If you don’t know what to say, here are some ideas to get you started. Prayer doesn’t have to take long, especially not at first. But it opens up the lines of communication between your child and God. Trust me, he is probably already talking to God without you even knowing it. Even kids who grow up in atheist households often have an awareness of and talk to God. You might as well join the conversation.
2. Pick a Bible-based devotional or picture Bible.
The key to finding a good devotional is to look for something that teaches your child the actual Bible, not just good moral values like honesty and faithfulness. Otherwise, the outside of your child will change with very little change on the inside, which is where it counts. Here are some tips to help you pick a good devotional book.
Also, here’s a list of my 10 favorite picture Bibles! That should help get you started.
Not gonna lie, we probably do devotions about 3-5 times a week, and I WROTE THE ONE WE USE. So yeah. We’re not perfect: we are consistently inconsistent.
But our kids know that on a fairly regular basis, devotions will be done during our bedtime routine. This is a great way of boosting your own Biblical knowledge too, if yours is around the same level as your child’s. You can learn together!
3. Take them to a church you trust, consistently.
The first part of this is the trust – maybe you were hurt by some Christians in your life. Christians do that. Unfortunately we, are fallible people and sometimes we forget that. We are so sorry for what we’ve collectively done to you. We are all sinners in need of grace, but we’re not all hypocritical jerks.
Odds are, you know at least one Christian that honestly loves God. Ask them to take you to church with them. It’s quite likely that you’ll meet some other Christians who honestly love God and want to make a positive difference in the world. I know a lot of them, and I hope you get to meet them someday.
I hear you muttering and about to close this page…and you’re right, church is not the be-all-and-end-all of your child’s faith, but it is a simple place to start.
At church your child will learn about God, meet other kids and adults who love God, learn to pray, hear about answers to prayer, become Biblically literate, and have a chance to see that the Church makes a positive difference in the world.
And you’ll probably meet other parents just like yourself with whom you will become friends, and you’ll get more ideas from them.
The key with having church actually make a difference in your child’s life is consistency.
If you take her to a church you trust once a month and spend the rest of the month sleeping in, you are probably indirectly communicating that it’s not important. Your kids will pick up on that, cuz they’re too smart for their own good (darn it).
Please read this in a completely un-judgy way, because I am preaching to myself here: Turn on your alarm and get your butt out of bed.
Or go to Saturday night church, or a weeknight AWANA program. I don’t care. Just go! Usually they have free coffee. 🙂
4. Live out your faith in front of them
Frankly, God is the only one who can actually cause faith to grow in your child’s heart. Not you, not your children’s pastor, not even the VeggieTales movies. (*gasp*)
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.
Isaiah 61:11 NIV
That means, you need to be growing with God as well, and it really helps if your kids see you growing.
I spent the first few years of parenthood reading my Bible exclusively during nap time. I’m sure my kids had no idea that I even owned one. In my desire for the perfect quiet time with God, I forgot to live my faith in front of my kids.
The most powerful gift you and I could ever give a child is to live a life of faith…in front of her.
Not just while she’s sleeping or a school. But in front.
In Psalm 78:4, the author says, “we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.” (NIV)
So can I give you a simple challenge for this week? Whether you live with your children or only see them at school, or on Sundays, you can do this challenge.
Here it is: tell someone of the next generation one of the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD. Be specific. Don’t tell a Bible story, tell a YOU-story. Tell a child about something God has done…for you.
If you want to go deeper, challenge the child to tell you one as well.
When you do what you can, and trust God to fill in the gaps, he will do more than you can ever ask or imagine in your child’s life.
Because he loves your child so freaking much that he literally took a bullet for her. (I mean, a cross ? ) If he loves her that much, he’s NOT going to leave you hanging, and he’s not going to leave her hanging.
In summary, God loves you, and he loves your kids.
Ridiculously much. He’s not out to mess up your child or you or your family. Let him in, and I promise you, you won’t regret it.