Not pastors. Not youth directors. Not Sunday School teachers.
In this season of celebrating students' discipleship study in the two-year Confirmation/Discipleship experience, we reflect on those God works to help a child follow Him. In this, we note that parents and guardians are the key disciplers/teachers in a child's life. The Holy Spirit works through you helping form and transform a child (Gal 4:19).
A challenging call...but we are reminded that where God calls, He equips. What can this look like in a busy life?
Below are a few useful thoughts for how to get your "home training" started.
- Read the Bible (yourself and together): Sometimes the simplest or most straightforward things are the best. If we recognize the Bible as God-inspired, we recognize it is like no other book. One that not only transforms others but us as well. And reading it all (such as with our Chronological Bible Challenge) is a great way to be acquainted not just with our favorite parts but with all of God's counsel. As we read it as a family, we live in ways that point our children to God AND they are transformed by their own interaction with it.
- Memorize the Bible: Memorization helps us focus on a verse in a busy world that not only makes the message available but we can begin to be formed by the message. It engages our minds and hearts in a way that causes us to interact in ways that "just reading" can't.
- Q&A: Do question-and-answer as you read and discuss parts of the Bible or another book about the faith. Ask questions about life, who God is, etc. Allow the entire family to interact around the topic. It can be a good time to develop their thinking and intentionally living for God.
- Invite your children to ask biblical questions. Don't discourage them from this. If they feel you are afraid or insulted, the questions still remain...only hidden and never addressed.
- Validate your child's honest biblical questions. Acknowledge them by saying "That's a great question" or "I have often wondered that myself." Faith questions become a part of the journey, not a marker that it means "I don't believe."
- Answer your child's question. We are all busy, but take time to discuss it or simply say "I'm not sure. Let's find out the answer together. We can talk to one of the pastors about that." A great time to share a growth moment together.
- Teach your child how to answer their own question. Classic "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime." How to study the Bible, use of Bible dictionaries, talks with your pastors, etc. all are useful parts of this. If you need help in ideas, contact the church.
How have you practiced some of these with your kids? What worked (or didn't work)?
*The framework of this post comes from a conversation in Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham, Jr.
**Photo courtesy of J. Artistry Photography