Teach your kids to appreciate the Bible fully. Help your kids discover the Bible’s awesome and mysterious message for themselves. Don’t present it as self-help book filled with moral principles; the Bible is much more than that. Show your kids that the Bible is an exciting, living story about God’s relationships with people. Encourage your kids to read the Bible’s raw stories of people who were both heroic and flawed.

Don’t sentimentalize the Bible or shy away from its harsh and difficult passages. Urge your kids to dig into Scripture deeply, and respond to it creatively in their lives. Wrestle together with hard questions the Bible brings up; doing so will equip your kids to handle situations where people in the culture question their beliefs. Discuss what beliefs are essential to the faith (such as Jesus’ virgin birth and death on the Cross for people’s sins) and what beliefs are just peripheral issues (like whether or not people should drink alcohol). Teach your kids to defend their core beliefs in thoughtful ways, while extending grace and charity to those who don’t agree with their beliefs on peripheral issues.

Value community. Be willing to enter the messiness of relationships and build community so your kids can build the skills they’ll need to engage others in the postmodern culture. Remember that people with postmodern worldviews are highly focused on community. Welcome and love people who are different from you. Expose your kids to non-Christians and difficult people. Teach your kids to engage people who are living in sin, and to act as change agents who influence sinful people for the better. Help your kids learn how to exist in harmony with other family members, so they can use their relationship skills to be peacemakers in the world. Find a good church and fully participate together in its community.

Expand God’s kingdom. Remember that, wherever you live, the mission field is right outside your front door. Help your kids expand God’s kingdom by spreading His Gospel message through their lives. Impart a kingdom mindset through example. Don’t just proclaim the Gospel; do your best to live out its principles every day to model a faithful life for your kids. Reject materialism and teach your kids that there’s more to life than things and money.

Make service a priority for your family. Live a lifestyle of contribution (working to make the world a better place) rather than consumption (seeing what you can get for yourselves). Be aware of the spiritual warfare at work in your family’s life and pray for and with your kids often.

Offer your lives to God out of gratitude. Teach your kids that life is a gift. Instill gratefulness in them and encourage them to express their thankfulness often to God. Show them what it looks like to offer your life to God out of gratitude, and urge them to do so themselves. When your kids dare to thank God in the midst of life’s messes, people in the postmodern culture will be drawn to God through them.

Adapted from Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, copyright 2007 by Mary E. DeMuth. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Or., www.harvesthousepublishers.com.       

Mary E. DeMuth is a speaker, novelist, and the author of Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God and Building the Christian Family You Never Had. Mary, her husband Patrick, and their three children helped pioneer a church in southern France.