Parenting in the 21st century is tough. Between the constant needs of your kids, the demands and expectations of the world, and, oh yeah, the need for sleep, the weight of parenting falls heavy. And most heavy is the burden of leading your child to Christ. If you feel lost or discouraged on how to lead your children to Christ, you are not alone. These 5 tips can help you start the lifelong process of discipleship with your children.
Teach Your Kids the Gospel
The very foundation of any faith, including your child’s, is a solid knowledge of the Gospel. This doesn’t just mean that you teach your kids the crucifixion and resurrection story (although that’s important). A full understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ means knowing why He came and why we need Him.
We always encourage starting with Scripture when teaching kids the Gospel. Help your children unpack these different passages to understand the beauty of the Gospel. Kids who have a deep and growing understanding of the Gospel will begin to live it out in their lives.
John 3:16 : For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 3:23 – 24 : For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (and all of these Romans verses)
Encourage Ongoing Conversations
Questions and doubts aren’t something that you should hide away or fear in your child. Any question that they have is an opportunity to have a conversation with them. You would rather your child talk to you about their questions than turn to other places, like friends at school or the internet. You are the best person to have ongoing conversations with your child, regardless of the topic.
Maybe your kids have questions about gender and sexuality, or about social media and video games. Take advantage and have these conversations (and if you don’t know how to start, we have some free resources for having these tough conversations with your kids). And as you open yourself up to these ongoing conversations, you build trust with your child. It’s okay if you don’t have the answers to all their questions. Use this precious time as an opportunity to ask questions and learn together. Remember, faith isn’t a destination but a journey. Join the journey with your child.
Demonstrate Your Own Faith
Studies have continuously shown that the first and primary teachers of children are their parents. You have an opportunity to demonstrate your own faith to your children and teach them what a real life relationship with Jesus looks like. If your faith is on display to your kids, they will learn by example.
When you invite your kids into your own faith, they are much more likely to own the faith as their own. Maybe this looks like serving as a family at your church. Maybe this looks like having family Bible study. Maybe this means apologizing to your kids when you mess up and asking for their forgiveness. Don’t miss out on this simple opportunity to invite your family into your faith. Like Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Immerse them in Believing Community
According to The Fuller Youth Institute, young people are more likely to grow in the faith when they have a team of at least five Christian adults investing in their lives. This 5:1 ratio is key to encouraging kids to have a life-long relationship with Jesus. These adults could be anyone: family friends, teachers, pastors, youth group leaders, etc.
And beyond just Christian adults invested in your child’s life, it is important to surround yourself and your kids in believing community. Get involved with your church or other community of Christians. They say that raising a child takes a village. Make sure that the village helping you raise your children is one that cares about their relationship with Christ as much as you do.
We know that you walk a careful balance when it comes to parenting your kids and teens through the 21st century. Whether you are facing a tough conversation with your child and don’t have the words to begin, or you’re getting a jumpstart on the teenage years ahead, Axis is for you.Join us as we parent together from elementary to high school and beyond.
Written in partnership with Reach The Lost