Indeed, my greatest thrill as a pastor and a parent is watching each child advance in their relationships with the Lord. Slowly but surely, we observe them owning the faith of their parents. For the youngest ones, it may only show up in bedtime prayers, Bible stories and Veggie Tales songs, but for the older ones it comes through in impromptu discussions about death, events in the news, or the nature of man. Little by little, faith takes root and Christ forms in them. One principle at a time, the Scripture is being tested and incorporated into their hearts. And they are finding – just as their mother and I have -- that God truly is sufficient for all their needs. 

How can you be sure your children will follow in those same footsteps? In commissioning His followers to walk by faith, abide in Him, and become examples of believers in word and deed, Jesus knew the most convincing sermon was a changed, faith-filled life.  If Christ looks so good shining through you, your children will want to share in the experience. This is why it’s so important to pursue your own faith with all your heart as you parent your children.

You may share clothes, musical interests or hobbies with your kids – or you may not. But the greatest joy will be in seeing your children share in your faith, just as I share my father’s faith, and knowing that a common spiritual inheritance surpasses any earthly fellowship known to mortal man. Perhaps this is what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13, italics mine).

Parents, dream of all the potential gifts and talents you can have in common with your children. Notice when they “catch your vision.” Take advantage of the times they show personal interest in your life and slowly build on those areas. Thank God for the little gifts of familial bonding He has blessed your family with.

As they gain interest in spiritual things, encourage them to seek the Lord in their own prayer life and Bible reading. Let them hear how God has answered your prayers, delivered you from harm, healed your hurts, provided for your needs, opened doors of testimony, and brought good out of an ugly situation. These are the things which inspire your children to courageously step out in faith for themselves. Before long that bond of righteousness will knit your souls together in a way that makes all other common ground even more precious.

“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me”  (John 17:21-23).

Ah, the bonding of  souls! How convincing, evangelizing, and indescribably wonderful!

Pastor Timothy Palla resides in southern Ohio with his lovely wife Jennifer and their five children; Drew, Dane, Aidan, Ethan, and Meghan.  You may contact him at