One of the biggest questions parents ask is, “How can we help our kids actually grow in their faith?” or, “How can we help our kids love Jesus in a world that doesn’t seem to care about Jesus?” Few questions are as important as that one. When it comes to our kids’ spiritual growth, are we limited to family devotions and just dropping off our kids at youth group…or is there something else? Here are some “go to” strategies for helping your student become a man or woman of God.
Family Bible Studies: Yeah, we actually recommend the tried-and-true “family Bible study” approach…with a couple of twists. First, encourage your student to pick the book of the Bible you’re going to study. We find that giving them the prerogative to choose the study helps create a sense of “buy in” on their part. Second, occasionally ask them to lead the Bible study for the family. That means they have to read ahead, they have to do some research, they have to establish a few talking points, and they have to devise a few discussion questions (with answers). We all know that we learn more when we are required to teach, so why not let our kids assume that responsibility – and benefit – from time to time?
Sermon Debrief: Alright, this one might border on “cruel and unusual.” Not only does your student have to sit through sermons each weekend, but now they have to actually to discuss them. During these talks, ask them to repeat back what they heard, which not only tests their comprehension and grasp of the subject, but also gives you instant feedback on the clarity of the messages being shared. Of course, give them the opportunity to ask questions about something they might not have understood. Just take a few notes on your preacher’s message and then seize an opportunity to discuss them with your kids. Not only will you be able to determine how much they understand, they’ll realize you are paying attention to the preacher, too!
Chores…Yes Chores: Do things around the house, in the neighborhood, and in the community together. I don’t know of a better way to help a teenager learn the importance of a good work ethic than taking care of a few simple tasks together. Pick a responsibility from your life as a parent and do it with your kids.
The Assembly Line: Building godly kids isn’t easy. It requires a constant effort and the process can be a messy one at times. But just like an assembly line at a manufacturing plant, if done correctly, you usually have a terrific product at the end. You only have a small window of time to help your student learn the importance of owning and modeling faith in Jesus…and that window is closing quickly. Whatever you use and however you do it, just make sure you’re constantly helping your kids forge a faith of their own.