Written By Cynthia Thomas
Edited by Allie Anson
If we are believers in God and His son, Jesus Christ, then we know that the only thing that truly matters in our lives is a relationship with our Creator. It is the most important relationship we can ever have and we should have a desperate desire to teach our kids about Who created them! But it can be overwhelming to know where to start, or even if we should start. Our culture would have us to believe it is better to perhaps not share our faith with our kids at all – that perhaps it is better to let them discover it on their own. But I am here to tell you, friends, not sharing our faith is such a great disservice to our loved ones. If we know that everyone needs a life jacket and chose not to share this important information with our most precious loved ones, and hope they discover it on their own, we cannot be surprised when they drown without the needed life jacket.
Romans 3:23 (NIV)
23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
Acts 4:12 (NIV)
12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
We are told throughout the Bible about the importance of teaching our kids about Jesus:
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV)
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV):
6 “Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
The majority of believers made the decision to follow Jesus Christ before they were teenagers. The likelihood that people will come to faith in Christ rapidly decreases after childhood (“Introducing Your Child to God” by Larry Fowler).
Even though we may feel lost as to how to point our children to follow Christ, we can point them towards certain spiritual markers as listed in the article “Introducing Your Child to God” by Larry Fowler:
- Spiritual marker for early childhood: Respect
- Instill respect for God and His authority through toddler Bible stories and discussing truths such as God is strong, He keeps His promises, He gives us rules to obey, etc.
- Spiritual marker for early elementary years: Wisdom
- Add biblical teaching to their daily routine
- Who is God?
- What is Truth? (We can trust God and His Word, the Bible)
- Who is Man? (We are sinners)
- Who is Jesus?
- Spiritual marker for late elementary years: Grace
- Make sure kids fully understand the Gospel
- Pray for discernment over your child’s possible decision for Christ
- Teach and model how to extend grace towards others
- Spiritual marker for middle school years: Trust
- Discuss the importance of trusting God with their future
- Discuss and focus on Proverbs 3:5-6 “5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
- Spiritual marker for high school years: Perspective
- Teens may begin to wrestle with tough questions like, “Why did God allow my friend to die in a car accident?” Provide the perspective that God is in control and is good. Share times when God worked out difficult issues in your life. Show your own trust in Him. Be open to their questions and if you can’t answer it, find the answer together.
My 3 biological kids were all between 5 and 6 years old when they made the decision to accept Jesus as their Savior. The oldest two individually made the decision for Christ during our daily Awana prep time (scripture discussions and memorization), and our youngest made her decision during our nightly family devotion. Our culture may tell kids that life is “all about me,” however it is up to us to teach them that our life is all about God. Our purpose is not about us; it is always about Jesus.
How can our family live a Jesus-centered lifestyle? Here are 15 suggestions:
- Always include Him in your conversations. Example:
- Adolescent: “Why did my friends do this? Parent: “Because we are sinners. Pray for your friends. Share Jesus with them if they don’t know Him already.”
- Child: “Thank you for dinner.” Parent: “You’re welcome. God always provides so well for us!”
- Teen: “Why can’t I wear that outfit?” Parent: “Because your body is not your own. You were bought with a price. Save your body for your future spouse.”
- Toddler: “That flower/bug/cloud is so cool.” Parent: “Yes it is! God is so creative!”
- Daily prayer time at meals, before school, before bed.
- Daily family devotions (or bible study if your kids are older).
- Encourage your older children to have their own daily quiet time. This consists of bible reading and prayer time. It greatly helps if they see you having daily quiet times as well!
- Attend Church Weekly.
- Find a local church that focuses on God and His son, Jesus Christ, teaches the Bible, and makes you feel welcome!
- While in Covid quarantine, check out sermons and praise music online, such as these provided by Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Durham, NC.
- There are many options available!
- Attend Awana if possible and memorize scripture regularly.
- Why is scripture memorization important? See Colossians 3:16 (NIV):
- 16 “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
- Take kids on periodic one-on-one dates (child with dad or mom) – these are great times for deep conversations. Dannah Gresh has many books and events on purity, modesty, etc. for tweens, teens, and adults such as:
- If you have teens:
- get plugged into a local church youth group
- mission trips
- let teens explore their God given callings and talents via youth worship bands, speaking, writing, teaching, working with kids, serving locally or abroad, shadowing ministry leaders, etc.
- Give and read Christ-centered books to your kids; there are so many options available!!
- We highly recommend Heroes for Young Readers series (ages 5-10), or
- Christian Heroes, Then & Now (ages 10+)
- Guy’s Guide to God, Girls, and the Phone in your Pocket by Jonathan McKee (ages 13+)
- The Smart Girl’s Guide to Mean Girls, Manicures, and God’s Amazing Plan for Me by Susie Shellenberger and Kristin Weber (ages 13+)
- More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell (ages 13+)
- A great resource to address evolution theory and other science vs. faith questions is the Answers in Genesis Ministry; they have many books for kids and teens
- Include God on your family vacations:
- Listen to Christian Music – our entertainment choices have a powerful sway over our behavior.
- Check out Klove.com to listen to Christian music online or to find a local radio station
- Check out music by Veggie Tales and Cedarmont Kids for young children
- Attend Christian music concerts such as WinterJam ($15 at door with shows on the East Coast & Midwest) or Rock and Worship Roadshow (~$20 with shows on the West Coast)
- Christian Movie nights
- Model your speech, dress, spending and service. Actions can speak louder than words. We need to model the behavior we want to see in our children. Are we representing Christ in our speech? In the way we dress? In our spending and giving? In the way we spend our time?
- Teach kids about giving.
- Focus on Jesus during the Holidays. Consider not emphasizing Santa at Christmas or the Easter bunny at Easter. Focus on God and His blessings at Thanksgiving. Look for activities, projects, special devotions, service opportunities, etc. to get their hearts prepared for the real purpose of these celebrations.
If you have not shared Jesus with your kids before, start today! We can’t change the past, but we can change today and tomorrow!
When they are ready to make the decision to follow Christ, be available during that special prayer to God; seek baptism (simply a public declaration that we have chosen to follow Jesus); and then everyday intentionally point your child to the cross in all you do! Seek to continue discipling your child and help them to grow in their faith.
Sometimes we will fail. When that happens just ask God or your family for forgiveness and keep yourself anchored in Him with your own daily prayer and bible reading time. Start over tomorrow and try again! I fail all the time and have to ask God to take over – and anything good in our family I know came 100% from the Lord and 0% from me. Take that first step today to dramatically impact your loved ones!
“A seat-belt, a life-jacket, and a parachute are mere temporary life-preservers; Jesus Christ is the eternal life-preserver.” -Ray Comfort
For additional resources to continue your personal study on sharing Jesus with your kids, check out Pastor Tony Evan’s Kingdom Kids book, Gary & Anne Marie Ezzo’s, Raising Kids God’s Way, or the many, many wonderful articles provided by Focus on the Family.