Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Karie Stadtmiller's book, Give Your Kids the Keys: Navigating Your Child to a Personal and Sustainable Faith, (Regal Books, 2010).

 

As a conscientious Christian and parent, you want to do your best to teach your kids about God. But your job shouldn't stop at teaching. Your kids need you to help them make faith their own and live it out fully. God wants your kids to move beyond believing to putting their faith in action. When they do, God will use their lives to change the world!

Here's how you can help your kids put faith into action:

Steer away from fear and toward engagement. Ask God to help you overcome fear that tempts you to keep your kids isolated from the world's sin as much as possible, and commit to helping your kids engage with people in this fallen world, boldly working to change it for the better. Base your parenting decisions on your trust in God's faithfulness to do what's best for your kids rather than on your fears about what could harm your kids.

Replace lies with biblical truth. Read and reflect on the Bible often to absorb its truth deeply into your soul. Then you can challenge fearful thoughts with faithful thoughts that truly reflect the reality of God's care for your kids.

Pray for visions of your kids' futures. Ask God regularly to give you fresh visions of His future plans for your kids, test the insights you receive, and talk to your kids often about how God offers them real hope and wants to use their lives to make the world a better place.

Model the lifestyle you want your kids to emulate. Keep in mind that the way you choose to live powerfully influences your kids. If your top priority is making money or pursuing pleasure, your kids will likely grow up to make similar choices. But if you show your kids that faith is what's most important to you, they'll be likely to pursue God above all else.

Call your kids to live beyond themselves. Help your kids move beyond self-centered lives to serve others as God leads them. Let them know that what they do matters in God's kingdom, even when they're very young. Help your kids discover and develop the distinct gifts and talents that God has given them. Give your kids opportunities to put those gifts and talents to use in specific ways, serving both in your church and in the greater community. Join them in service projects when you can, such as making care packages for sick kids in your local hospital or volunteering at one of your region's food banks.

Let God's fire burn throughout your kids' lives. Invite God's Spirit to fill every part of your kids' lives instead of trying to contain it to certain aspects, such as the time they spend in church. Talk with your kids about what God is doing in their school, their relationships with friends, and all other parts of their lives. Encourage your kids to discover how they can help fulfill God's purposes in all of the situations they encounter. Discuss the current news together, talking about how your kids can pray for the people and circumstances they learn about from the news. Teach your kids to recognize God's constant presence and seek His guidance at all times and in all places.

Show your kids how everyday moments are holy moments. Use everyday moments such as driving to and from school, eating meals together, and helping your kids with their homework to make your kids aware of God's presence and communicate spiritual insights to them.