How Can I Help Children Follow Jesus?

(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Hi friends,

In one way or another, many of us are likely to be influencing the next generation. Whether we are in relationships with children because we are parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or simply because we are faithful members of a church, there’s a good chance you know some kids.

As a father of two young children, I was interested in a recent blog post by Eric Geiger called “Research Reveals the 5 Biggest Influencers on Your Child’s Spiritual Health.” In this post he shares five of the top ten reasons that Jana Magruder writes about in her book Nothing Less: Engaging Kids in a Lifetime of Faith.

Here they are: Children who habitually read the Bible, pray to God, serve in church, listen to Christian music, and participate in church missions trips and projects are more likely to follow Jesus as adults.

I was initially surprised by ‘listens to Christian music’, but on reflection, I think it is important that we recognize the profound shaping power of the arts and of stories.

It makes sense that these are the core practices that need emphasis. I think the challenge for us is to personally model these behaviors ourselves, to find wise and creative ways to encourage children to adopt them, and to persevere in the commitment (and joy!) of passing on the faith to the next generation.

How to convince a child
(Tim Ramey) #2

Carson, I a a father of 7 adult children. Some of them are solid Christians while some are in limbo. I don’t get it as they came from a family where Jesus was lived as well as possible, though we all make mistakes. The most difficult event that seemed to override all of the Bible stories as well as my nightly telling them a new story every night about my own character, Tommy Baloney, was my near death accident that left me paralyzed. Before that I was active - no, rather hyperactive. I changed a bit for the worse as I struggled with pain but I think they wondered what was God doing. The whole ordeal has left me puzzled but I cling to the fact that they are not God’s grandchildren but must make their own choice for Him.

One belief that I still believe is how I could best help my children to follow Jesus was to love my wife. I still believe that as I came out of a situation where there was constant fighting and screaming between my parents. To love my wife is a way that I love Jesus as well as my children. I don’t know if you’d agree with that.

(Carson Weitnauer) #3

Hi Tim, absolutely I think your example of trusting and loving God despite prolonged suffering, as well as loving your wife, are two of the most powerful ways to share about Christ with your kids - with anyone who knows you. We have to ask, why seek to pass on a faith we do not personally embrace with wholehearted devotion?