As Christian parents, we firmly believe that one of the most important jobs we have is teaching our four children about our faith. For centuries, parents regularly engaged in the practice of systematically teaching their children biblical truths, often from manuals of Christian doctrine called catechisms. But that formal way of educating our children fell out of favor gradually, and today, many Christian families don’t have any form of regular teaching to pass on to their children the essential elements of our faith.
Here are seven ways we as parents can encourage our child’s faith.
Read books together. Pick a book that will challenge and build up your child’s understanding of God. For example, last summer, I read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis with my teenage daughters and my husband read The Heart of God by Sinclair Ferguson with our tween boys.
Have regular family devotions. Mix it up with reading Scripture, memorizing Bible verses and discussing current events through the lens of God’s Word. For more on how to start your own family devotions, listen to my podcast, “The Secret to Family Devotions.”
Pray together as a family. Prayer is powerful—where else do we directly interact with the god of the universe? At the end of our family devotions, each family member takes a turn asking for requests, then praying aloud. This also has provided a way for us to remind one another of how God has answered our prayers.
Connect God to the world. Current events, natural disasters or the beauty of nature all point to the sovereignty of God. Helping our kids see the connection will grow their faith. Use news articles and classroom discussions to show how God is in control.Show how God is working in our lives. This might seem overly simplistic, but seeing God build our faith will encourage theirs. Share how God brought you through a tough day or situation. Talk about how you prayed for your work or circumstance.
Attend church as a family. Rather than kids and parents going separate ways, worship together on Sundays. This is something that is very precious to us as a family—we all sit together in the worship service. We will discuss the morning’s sermon further over lunch, which helps reinforce the biblical truths we heard together.
Keep the Sabbath. Don’t overload Sundays with activities and chores. Rather, keep the Lord’s day set aside for church and family. For instance, each Sunday afternoon before evening church, we play a game together or simply have hot cocoa and talk.
Remembering that faith is a vibrant, living thing can help us develop a passion for sharing it with our kids.
My Favorite Family Devotional Aides
Want to have family devotions but aren’t sure what to read? Here are a few of my favorite family devotion resources.
The Life of Christ for the Young by Richard Newton. All ages. Charles Spurgeon called Richard Newton “The Prince of Preachers to the young.” You’ll see why in this three-volume work that shows children (and adults!) the work of Christ from Genesis to Revelation.
The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos. Up to 13. This retelling of the Bible doesn’t dumb down scripture. Catherine Vos uses biblical stories to show kids what’s really important—what’s going on in their own hearts—and how God used circumstances to bring about his ultimate plan of salvation through his son, Jesus Christ.
Great Bible Question & Answer Book. Up to 13. There are a lot of versions of this type of book, but this is the we used as a family to go through the Old and New Testaments in question form.