Nothing is more important than leading your kids to Christ. When I think about my priorities in life they always start off the same. My first priority is to Love God with all my heart, my soul, my strength, and my heart. My second priority in life is to my family. To be a good and honest husband, and to be a Christlike father for my children. I’m sure that many of us have similar priorities. And when we think about our spiritual lives it’s easy to think all about me. Have I read my Bible today, Have I spent adequate time praying, How can I serve, and How can I grow closer to God. These things are not necessarily bad things to think about at all. We need to grow closer to God each and every day. But, what I would like to talk about is how we are doing with our 2nd priority, our families. And more importantly leading our families.
There is nothing better than having a close knit family that loves each other. I think we all long for that and want our children to grow up with the same spiritual values that we have. And for those of us who have children it seems like they grow up way too fast.
In George Barna’s book “Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions” he talks about the probability of people accepting Jesus Christ as their savior for a lifetime relationship. His research puts the probability at:
36% for children between 5 and 18 years old,
6% for people 19 years and older.
So, for us parent’s it’s easy to see that Barna’s research concludes what the Bible has already taught for years! Proverbs 22:6 says “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
My favorite professor in college always said, “There are two mission fields that you drive to every day: The one at work and then your family at home.” That is so true. It’s easy for us to think about our friends and colleagues at work, but forget our own families.
These are some practical things that we try to do and accomplish through our own family. In no way do we do all of things right or in the right way. But we do try our best because we know our children grow up way too fast.
These are some ways we practically share our faith with our own children.
- Church. Know what your child is learning on Sunday morning and Wednesday night. Hang up artwork they bring home. Write the memory verse of the month on an index card to go over together.
- Pray together. It is vital that your family pray together. When children are first beginning to talk, their prayers can be, “Thank you for Daddy and Mommy.” Begin the habit of praying before meals, before leaving on a road trip, and for each other when hurt or sick. Teach your child that they can pray where ever they are, or even silently.
- Prayer board. When our children were younger we covered a small bulletin board with fabric and placed pictures of family and friends on it. This is a visual way younger children can remember who to pray for.
- Read the Bible as a Family. Every night before bed we gather as a family to read from this Bible. Make sure your child has a Bible of their own that they can bring to and from church each week. Some Bibles that we recommend would be: God’s Story for Me Bible, The Adventure Bible Storybook, The Read and Share Bible, and the Adventure Bible.
- Scripture memory. It’s amazing how easily children can memorize scripture, and how they earnestly want to learn more. We chose verses that are easy to understand and ones that we want to impress on our daughter’s hearts. Here are some of the verses that we have used:
I can do all things through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
Do all things without complaining or arguing. Philippians 2:14
When I’m afraid I will trust in you. Psalm 56:3
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8
Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength. Matthew 22:37
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son. John 3:16
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Proverbs 3:5
- Tithing. Every week we give our girls 10 dimes to divide into three small plastic containers: tithing, saving, spending. The first dime “goes to God” (tithing). The next three go to saving, the rest to spending. They put their tithe in the offering at church each week.
- Music and Movies. Children listen to everything that is said, this includes what they hear on the radio. Our girls love watching movies, and we like them to watch quality entertainment with Christian values. Ones we recommend for preschoolers are Boz the Bear, Nest Bible series, The Story Bible series, and The First Noel (Christmas story).
- Quality Time. Nothings says “I Love you” more than being there for your family. And you can’t say “I Love you” if you are not around. Many children just want to spend time with their Daddy or Mommy. They don’t care about what present you bring home or how big of a party you can throw for them, they just want you. Our children definitely see Christ in us when we are home for dinner, or are present at their school activity, and home for their bed time.
- Teaching Moments. Make every moment a teaching moment. It’s tempting as a parent to let things slide, ignore the mean word spoken to a sibling, give in to whining, but it is not how we should parent. Make every moment a teaching moment by speaking to the heart of your child, using scripture and Bible truths.
- Serving Others. We want our girls to have a servant’s heart, but this takes practice and training. Some simple ideas include: drawing a picture for someone who is sick, help prepare a meal for a family with a new baby, pick up trash in your neighborhood, visit a nursing home, or donate outgrown clothes or toys.