4 Ways to Empower Your Kids to Live Out Their Faith
- Malinda Fuller Author
- 2016 10 Nov
When it comes to ensuring that your children are growing in their faith, there is no shortage of helpful resources. There are Christian preschools, children’s programs at church, and a plethora of good values available in DVD and internet form. Books, Bibles, Bible studies and curriculum have been created for every level of learner, on every topic imaginable. Gray-haired ladies and flannel board stories have been replaced by singing vegetables who teach Bible verses, and excited young people who pray and worship alongside your kids. These are wonderful resources, but none of them will have the impact on your children’s faith like you will as their parent.
Whether you are early in your relationship with Jesus, or well established in your walk, there are many ways that you can empower your kids to live out their own faith; here are just a few:
1. Get them praying.
Start at bedtime, or during meals, but then expand from there. When someone is sick, or hurt, or as you are going throughout your day— invite them to pray. Teach them to bring requests to God and then to listen for His response. This is something we are never too young or too old to start doing. Model for them what it means to talk to God; do not simply recite prayers from a book or ritually go through the motions before bed, but create an ongoing dialogue throughout the day. Offer up requests, consider world events, create a list of people that you will routinely remember in prayer, or grab a verse and begin praying it in faith.
2. Reading and discussion.
Start with reading Bible stories, but don’t stop there. Ask if they have questions and have them tell you what they learned. Give them time and space to doubt and wrestle with harder topics. Help them come to conclusions on their own.Then, get practical and figure out a way to apply the lessons to their lives. Don't rush these moments—they may just surprise you with how much they comprehend, or with their own insights, questions, and discoveries.
3. Lead by example.
You are their greatest example of how to have a relationship with Jesus. It’s not their Sunday school teacher, classroom teacher, or another adult leader who will have the greatest impact on your child’s faith; it is you. Let them hear you confess when you've made a mistake and ask for forgiveness, especially if it's from them. Pray with them for people who hurt you, or are tough to love. Let them see you reading your Bible and blessing others. Give generously of your time, effort, and money and let them know why you serve— why you are motivated and choose the causes you do.
4. Be outward-focused.
Don’t let their faith just be about them. Yes, as young children, their prayers will be selfishly motivated by material possessions, and getting their own way. But over time you can help them mature so that their conversations with God are filled with requests and blessings for others. Teach them how to think of other people—both those in your immediate community, as well as those in other parts of the world. Make it a point to be the difference in the lives of others. At home, this can be as easy as baking cookies for a neighbor or helping an elderly friend. On a global level, you could encourage them to have a pen pal, or adopt a child that your family supports financially. You can serve a local charity, or give to an organization that brings hope and aid to families far away— there is no shortage of ways to get outside of me-centered faith.
Empowering your kids to grow in their faith does not require a degree in theology or religion; you do not need to become fluent in Hebrew or Greek. As your children grow, you will encounter many topics and find yourself in the thick of conversations that you will not have answers for—faith will likely be one of those subjects. This should not make your fearful or timid, but excited. The goal is that your children will grow up in the way you've instructed them, and then hopefully, one day, surpass you in their own faith journey.
Malinda Fuller and her husband Alex have served at several churches and para-church organizations in the U.S. and Canada for over a decade. Malinda wields truth and grace through the words on her blog and has also contributed content for Relevant, Thrive Moms and The Influence Network. Malinda and Alex currently reside in Southern California, where they are homeschooling their daughters, working in ministry and trying to not complain about the continuous sunshine.
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Publication date: November 10, 2016