This is another great article to follow up from yesterday’s post. Sometimes I think that as parents we must know all the answers. Knowing the answers is not the key. Knowing God as our personal Lord and Savior is the key!
Help Your Kids Put Faith into Action
Editor’s Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Karie Stadtmiller‘s book, Give Your Kids the Keys: Navigating Your Child to a Personal and Sustainable Faith, (Regal Books, 2010).
As a conscientious Christian and parent, you want to do your best to teach your kids about God. But your job shouldn’t stop at teaching. Your kids need you to help them make faith their own and live it out fully. God wants your kids to move beyond believing to putting their faith in action. When they do, God will use their lives to change the world!
Here’s how you can help your kids put faith into action:
Steer away from fear and toward engagement. Ask God to help you overcome fear that tempts you to keep your kids isolated from the world’s sin as much as possible, and commit to helping your kids engage with people in this fallen world, boldly working to change it for the better. Base your parenting decisions on your trust in God’s faithfulness to do what’s best for your kids rather than on your fears about what could harm your kids.
Replace lies with biblical truth. Read and reflect on the Bible often to absorb its truth deeply into your soul. Then you can challenge fearful thoughts with faithful thoughts that truly reflect the reality of God’s care for your kids.
Pray for visions of your kids’ futures. Ask God regularly to give you fresh visions of His future plans for your kids, test the insights you receive, and talk to your kids often about how God offers them real hope and wants to use their lives to make the world a better place.
Model the lifestyle you want your kids to emulate. Keep in mind that the way you choose to live powerfully influences your kids. If your top priority is making money or pursuing pleasure, your kids will likely grow up to make similar choices. But if you show your kids that faith is what’s most important to you, they’ll be likely to pursue God above all else.
Call your kids to live beyond themselves. Help your kids move beyond self-centered lives to serve others as God leads them. Let them know that what they do matters in God’s kingdom, even when they’re very young. Help your kids discover and develop the distinct gifts and talents that God has given them. Give your kids opportunities to put those gifts and talents to use in specific ways, serving both in your church and in the greater community. Join them in service projects when you can, such as making care packages for sick kids in your local hospital or volunteering at one of your region’s food banks.
Let God’s fire burn throughout your kids’ lives. Invite God’s Spirit to fill every part of your kids’ lives instead of trying to contain it to certain aspects, such as the time they spend in church. Talk with your kids about what God is doing in their school, their relationships with friends, and all other parts of their lives. Encourage your kids to discover how they can help fulfill God’s purposes in all of the situations they encounter. Discuss the current news together, talking about how your kids can pray for the people and circumstances they learn about from the news. Teach your kids to recognize God’s constant presence and seek His guidance at all times and in all places.
Show your kids how everyday moments are holy moments. Use everyday moments such as driving to and from school, eating meals together, and helping your kids with their homework to make your kids aware of God’s presence and communicate spiritual insights to them.
Tell stories. Just as Jesus often told stories to help His disciples learn something, use stories to teach your kids faith lessons you want them to learn. Tell them the story of how you came to faith in Jesus and what He means to you now. Tell stories about how God is working in the lives of people you know. Ask your kids to tell you stories about what God has done lately in their own lives.
Show your kids how God’s creation reflects biblical truth. Spend time with your kids outside in nature often and talk with them about how what you see reflects something about God. For example, while watching a sunrise together, you could talk about how the Bible says that God’s mercies are new every morning.
Help your kids relate to Jesus’ experiences to their own. Talk with your kids often about Jesus’ life on Earth, and how He went through much of what they face themselves in this fallen world. For instance, if other kids make fun of one of your kids at school, you can explain how other people sometimes mistreated Jesus, but He still related to them in love.
Surround your kids with faithful people while encouraging them to reach out to outcasts. Help your kids develop close friendships with other kids who are living faithful lives and invite adults you trust and respect to invest in your kids lives regularly, keeping in mind that your kids will likely grow to become like the people who surround them. But also urge your kids to reach out to struggling kids with love rather than avoiding them.
Teach your kids how to hear from God and make decisions based on His guidance. Help your kids develop spiritual disciplines such as regular prayer and Bible reading that will increase their abilities to hear what God is saying to them. During your daily conversations with your kids, ask them if they’ve heard from God lately, and what messages they think God gave them. Ask God to give your kids the wisdom they need to discern His voice speaking above all other voices they may hear in the world. Give your kids opportunities to make their own decisions in age-appropriate ways, and include them in making family decisions whenever possible, so they’ll grow into confident adults who can make decisions faithfully.
Adapted from Give Your Kids the Keys: Navigating Your Child to a Personal and Sustainable Faith, copyright 2010 by Adam and Karie Stadtmiller. Published by Regal Books, a division of Gospel Light, Ventura, Ca., www.regalbooks.com.
Adam and Karie Stadtmiller have been in ministry together for more than 15 years, serving in various organizations around the world. They currently minister at North Coast Calvary Chapel in Carlsbad, California, where Adam oversees the 30-something ministry and the Discipleship Training Center. Together, they have two daughters, Lily Kate and Lucy Joy.