By Gail Marsh
As you kick off another year of ministry, it’s time to remind families about the importance of bringing faith home. Children are at church for an hour or two each week, but their real-life, lifelong faith grows out of what parents do and teach within the home environment.
Do you need an easy way to communicate this to parents? Take the letter below and feel free to personalize, copy, and distribute it to the families in your ministry.
What’s the most important thing you do for your children? Provide safe housing, good nutrition, and warm clothing? Give them love, acceptance, and encouragement?
You undoubtedly do all of this and much more, but the most important thing they need is a personal relationship with their Savior, Jesus. And you, parents and caregivers, are the best ones to teach your kids about Jesus!
Don’t worry—you can still be you! In fact, kids will easily recognize when you fake your enthusiasm about Jesus or try to foster faith in any way that is not genuine. So read the following tips for developing faith at home. Then, pick a few ideas that truly touch your heart and make them part of your routine at home!
- Pray with and for your child each morning. Or in the evening before bed. Or in the car on the way to practice. Anytime the Holy Spirit puts prayer on your mind.
- Model Christian faith. Act honorably with everyone. Obey laws. (Yes, even speed limits!) Do what’s right. Let your kids catch you reading your Bible, praying, or doing your daily devotions. And, when you mess up, admit it and ask for forgiveness.
- Express your faith, out loud. Talk about how the Lord takes care of you, forgives your sins for Jesus’ sake, and never stops loving you and your children. Look for ways to point out specific examples of God’s care: the healing he brings, the beauty he’s created for us to enjoy in our world, and the provision and love he has given to your family.
- Discipline in love. Identify disobedience and give a consequence that is effective for the individual child. Afterward, assure the child of the forgiveness and never-ending love we have from Jesus—and that you love and forgive your child, too!
- Read Bible stories together. Use the versions of Scripture that are most appropriate for your child’s age. Talk about God’s power, forgiveness, and love.
- Answer your child’s spiritual questions honestly. If you don’t know the answer or aren’t sure how to answer, admit it. Kids need to see that adults, too, are growing in faith and don’t always know all the answers. Try to find the answer together in Scripture or ask your pastor for help.
- Protect young children from anti-Christian influences found in some television programming, movies, and other media. Help older children recognize anti-Christian influences and steer clear of them. Create friendships with like-minded Christian kids.
- Attend church as a family. Kids need to see that the most important adults in their life need Christian fellowship and encouragement from Scripture, too.
- Sing Christian songs and hymns to your babies and toddlers. Take older kids to Christian concerts, if they show interest. Listen to Christian radio and go see Christian movies.
If you have additional suggestions or ideas that foster faith at home, please let me know. I’m happy to add your ideas to this list! Everyone at [insert church name] is praying for you and your children!
Children’s Ministry Leader
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