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Leading Your Child to Christ

Raising children to follow Christ requires your faith and trust in the Lord’s plan. Keep reading to learn how to promote your children’s spiritual growth.

Introducing Your Child to God

by Larry Fowler

No maps. No GPS. Few street signs. Those are three important reasons why I don’t drive in developing countries. I’d get lost. Raising our kids to follow Jesus is a lot like trying to navigate in an under-developed country — there is no parenting map, no spiritual GPS. We head in the direction that seems best, trying to find our way by trial and error.

But we don’t need to feel lost. As we journey through each stage of our children’s development, we can point them toward spiritual markers that will help them find true faith — becoming vibrant followers of Christ.

Spiritual Marker for Early Childhood: Respect

For parents of young children, the journey of raising Christ followers starts with the task of instilling respect for God and His authority. The psalmist tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10).

While most of us enjoy teaching toddlers fun Bible stories, we can’t stop there. Early childhood materials may solely emphasize how “Jesus is your friend.” Warm fuzzy feelings build our children’s affection for Jesus, but they don’t build the foundation for spiritual wisdom. 

So how do you instill this respect? Teach your young children these truths:

  • God always keeps His promises.
  • God gives us rules that we must obey.
  • Even if Mommy or Daddy can’t see what you are doing, God sees it.
  • God disciplines us because He loves us.

Spiritual Marker for Early Elementary Years: Wisdom

Wisdom is the ability to apply God’s Word to life situations. So to grow in wisdom, your children must first learn God’s Word. From ages five to eight, add biblical teaching to your daily routine. At this age, your children probably love to learn. When teaching your children about Jesus, make sure you emphasize the following four areas.

Who is God?

Is He an angry ogre ready to club you when you disobey? Use Bible stories to teach about God. Take the story of David and Goliath for example. What can we learn about God from it? Many children’s materials conclude, “You can do anything if God is on your side.” But that is backward. The story’s application ought to be, “Make sure you are on God’s side.”

What is Truth?

Your kids will be bombarded throughout life by truth claims from the media, teachers and friends. If you are not successful in teaching them that truth and wisdom come from the Bible, they will struggle greatly with faith challenges later.

This means you must regularly include statements like the following in your conversation: “We can always trust what God says”; “God’s Word is always right”; “Obey the Bible, and you’ll never be sorry.”

Who is Man?

Our humanistic culture treats man as basically good. That’s why children often struggle with accepting the Bible’s claim that man is sinful. If they’ve not experienced abuse, abandonment, addictions or other deep hurts (as I hope they haven’t), they probably see the people around them as good. Your children will not appreciate the need for a savior until they see themselves and others as sinners.

Who is Jesus?

Growing up in a society that professes to value tolerance will challenge your children’s faith. They may be called “intolerant” and “hateful” for claiming that Jesus is the only way to God. When your children sit in a classroom of Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and atheists, will their faith in Jesus stick? To withstand this pressure, your children need a secure knowledge of who Jesus is and why He is the only Way.

Spiritual Marker for Late Elementary Years: Grace

The primary goal for 9 to 11 year olds is to receive God’s grace. Said another way, if your children do not come to faith in Christ by the time they are teens, the likelihood begins to quickly decrease that they will do so.

That means you must do two things to lead your child to Christ: First, make certain that your children fully understand the Gospel. Second, ask God to help you discern the authenticity of their decision. Countless children “respond” to Jesus and the Gospel outwardly because of pressure from a Sunday school teacher or parent, while in their hearts they remain reluctant to submit to Christ.

To understand your children’s faith, ask questions: “Can you explain why Jesus died on the Cross?” “What does someone have to do to go to heaven?” “Why do you think you are a Christian?” 

Beyond accepting Jesus’s grace, your children also need to learn how to give grace to others. “That’s not fair” may be the most common complaint of middle elementary kids. Siblings war over the size of a piece of pie, who sits in what seat in the van and who has to do the most chores. This age group is especially concerned with getting their fair share. 

Spiritual Marker for Middle School Years: Trust

Young adolescents are beginning to wonder what their lives will hold. These years are a prime time for discussing the importance of trusting God with their future.

Here’s one way to begin that conversation: Discuss Proverbs 3:5-6 with your children. Talk through it carefully: “What does it mean to ‘trust in the Lord’? How about ‘with all your heart’? 

Buy a plaque with this passage on it and hang it in their room. Have them memorize it. Underline it in their Bibles. Make it a strong focus in your conversations.

When I was 13, I told God I wanted Him to have complete control of my life. I strongly believe that decision kept me out of all sorts of trouble during my teen years. In the same way, God can use your middle schoolers’ commitment to Him to guide your children through the coming years.Spiritual Marker for High School Years: Perspective

“Why did God let my best friend die in a car accident?” The lack of adequate answers can send their faith tumbling.

Older teens may begin wrestling with tough questions for the first time: “Why is there evil in the world?” “Why is my teacher so unfair?” The lack of adequate answers can send their faith tumbling. And at the same time, it could provide a remarkable opportunity to lead your child to Christ. 

First, provide the perspective that God is sovereign in all things. Your teens need to hear your stories about the times when God worked difficult things out for good. They need to see you trust in God. If you don’t have an answer, admit it — then find the answer together. As your children grow, take note of their life stage and adjust your spiritual training accordingly.

 

Leading Your Children to Christ the Savior

by Kelly J. Stigliano

My children were four and five when they believed in Jesus for salvation. At that age, they were like sponges soaking up the love of Jesus and spiritual truth. Observing the world around us provided many natural opportunities for teaching my children about creation and the Gospel. Those opportunities provided avenues for me to lead my children to Christ. 

In order for children to put their faith in Jesus, they need to understand several basic truths:

  • Their sin and need for a Savior
  • The significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection
  • God’s faithful presence in a believer’s life

One powerful way for these truths to be conveyed in the home is for parents to talk about them and live them out each day, so kids can learn from both their actions and their words.

Recognizing Their Sin

My friends Tina and Harry raised their children with an open dialogue about sin and the importance of asking for forgiveness. Praying together before and after discipline showed their children the seriousness of their infractions and the value of having a clean heart before God. They also continued leading their children to Christ by offering their forgiveness freely, and displaying unconditional love and mercy.

For the concept of dealing with sin to become real to children, they need to

  • Understand that they mess up (Romans 3:23)
  • Admit to and accept the consequences of your wrong actions (1 John 1:9)
  • Realize God loves them whether they succeed or fail (Romans 5:8)
  • Accept that only God has the power to change their heart (Ezekiel 36:26)

The Significance of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

While this principle seems obvious, parents often neglect to tell their children the basic story of the Gospel. Unfortunately, they assume they already know that Jesus came to earth as a baby, willingly shed His blood on the Cross, and died and rose again to pay the penalty for sin.

Children can understand the concept of grace — or undeserved favor — through our parenting. When you offer your child grace, relate it to the grace God showed us in sending His Son and forgiving our sin. 

For the truths of the Gospel to become real to children, they should first understand that

  • Jesus loves us so much that He came to earth for us (John 3:16).
  • He taught us how to live and know His Father.
  • He died on the Cross in our place.
  • Jesus defeated sin and death through His resurrection — our Savior lives!

Jesus and Children: God is Close

When my friend Christie’s kids were little, she reminded them how important children are to Jesus. She read them Genesis 5:1: “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.” Then she reminded them that God created them, too, and they are precious to Him. That prompted them to understand that Jesus wanted to be close to them.  

I used to tell my kids that they could talk to Jesus at any time; He’s just a thought away and always with them. 

  • For God’s nearness to become real to children, help them understand that
  • God promises to always be with them (Hebrews 13:5)
  • Jesus came to earth, died and rose again to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18)
  • God gives believers a helper called the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 26)

Leading Your Child to Christ By Example

As hard as it is for us to comprehend, God loves our children even more than we do. He desires that they have a personal relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus. The most important introduction I’ve ever made is the one that led my children to Christ. Showing them Christ in my everyday life was essential to them making this decision.

Angelica says she does her best to live out Deuteronomy 11:19, which instructs parents to talk about God’s commands with their children at all times of the day, both at home and while they are out. As she walks her daughters to school every day, she uses the opportunity to tell them the stories of Bible heroes, such as Abraham, Joseph and Esther.

Teaching Kids About God’s Big Story

by Michelle Anthony

It’s no surprise that reading the Bible is a hefty undertaking. Anything that sets out to cover the beginning of time, creation, and the fall of man is obviously going to require some serious commitment. And that can be difficult for our kids. Here are a few ways to help your kids open their eyes to this bigger picture while still leading your child to Christ:

When I was a child, I loved when my father told me bedtime stories that had me as the main character. Usually my father wove in a few of my friends (or foes) and perhaps even a pet. With thoughts of myself as the heroine, I drifted off to sleep knowing that all was right in my little world.

As parents, we’ve all noticed how small the world of a child is. Kids see everything from their vantage point, focusing on how situations affect them. One of our roles as parents is to train our children to shift away from this self-centeredness.

And while today’s culture is telling our children that life is “all about me,” we can teach them to recognize that life is really “all about God.” There is a big story here — a grand narrative weaving throughout history. And we are all a part of it. We can help our children glimpse the wonder of this bigger story, which has been gradually unfolding for thousands of years. 

Teach Your Children Jesus’ Chronology

Customarily, we teach Scripture through fragmented stories, in ways that aren’t linear. Baby Moses is the key figure one day, Noah another day, and Jesus is the key figure on another occasion. Many children who know the stories can’t tell you whether Abraham was born before David or if baby Jesus was alive when baby Moses was.

What we sometimes miss when reading individual Bible stories is that there’s an underlying thread that reveals God’s Word as a giant love story — a story of the Creator pursuing His created ones and desiring a personal relationship with each one of them. When reading or telling a Bible story, we can help our children place it into the larger continuum, reviewing when and where that story took place. We can keep visual outlines handy so they can see the sequence of events, and how what they are reading fits into God’s long plan to save humanity. They can see what has happened so far and what is still to come.

By putting each story in context of the grand story, we help our kids recognize Jesus the Redeemer and God our Father as the main characters, even when it appears that someone else is.

Recognize the Ultimate Hero

Kids love heroes. And when all is said and done, God — through His Son, Jesus — is the ultimate hero! In the big story, good and evil war with each other, evil seems to overtake the world, but then Jesus shows up and conquers sin and death, and those of us who recognize Him as Lord and Savior are saved. Ultimately, He will make everything right.

Often, kids only see pieces of this heroic tale. We all love the Jesus portrayed in the Gospels — in those accounts, Jesus loves us and shows us how to love others. He helps us understand who the Father is and how our relationship with Him should be. But we need to make sure that we portray a fuller picture of who Jesus is. He is both gentle and powerful. He is both humble and victorious! Yes, Jesus humbly gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins, but He also conquered death. This is what makes Jesus the kind of hero worth living for. Knowing that He is the ultimate victor gives each one of us the courage to walk with Him even when life is hard.

Tell Your Story

Take a moment to think about your own story. Think about your family of origin. How did God use the circumstances in your life to bring you to himself? When did you realize that there was more to life than living for yourself? How did that affect your decisions? How can you lead your child to Christ? This is all the essence of who you are — it is a story your kids need to hear.

At an early age, our children can begin to hear parts of our story and to be eyewitnesses to how God is continuing to shape it. I enjoy telling my children aspects of my own faith story in the context of the age they are, the experiences they are facing and how I felt God guided me when I was encountering similar situations.

Even parents who did not experience a relationship with God as children or teenagers can share how the events of their lives led them to faith or how they could have benefited from knowing a God who loved them and had a place for them in His big story. 

Live It Challenges!

Looking for practical ways for your child to live out their faith? Want to grow your child to have a biblical worldview? Try Focus on the Family’s Live It Challenges! Once a month, explore one practical way to live out your faith and one theological topic to grow in! And It’s completely free! Sign up today.

How To Share the Gospel with Your Child

by Ann Vande Zande

Whatever our children’s ages, we as Christian parents have an awesome responsibility to help them understand and respond to the Gospel. We can effectively lead our children to Christ. Coming to grips with the Gospel and their need for a Savior is key to our children’s faith journey.

“Am I going to die if I accept Jesus?” my 5-year-old daughter, Amelia, asked one day.

“You won’t die right now,” I reassured her.

As we talked more, I learned that she had recently heard the Gospel at church, and in her mind, that message boiled down to one simple message: “When you ask Jesus into your heart, you go to heaven.” Apparently my daughter hadn’t prayed to accept Jesus because she didn’t want to die just yet.

We talked some more about what the Gospel really meant. Amelia was visibly relieved after our conversation, and she said that she wanted to pray to accept Jesus. So we headed downstairs to we could pray with her daddy.

Whatever our children’s ages, we as Christian parents have an awesome responsibility to help them understand and respond to the Gospel. You can effectively lead your child to Christ and develop your children’s relationships with Jesus. Coming to grips with the Gospel and their need for a Savior is key to our children’s faith journey.

The Gospel Message

Maybe your child knows several Bible stories by heart, or maybe he is just now learning basic truths of Scripture. Whatever your child’s level of biblical literacy, establishing a core understanding of God’s full plan for humanity — how these stories and truths are all linked together — is the first step.

That big story starts in the garden. For our kids to truly understand Jesus’ sacrifice, they must recognize that God’s loving relationship with humankind is drastically altered by the presence of our sin.

Teach your children that God created a beautiful world and then made humans in His image. According to Genesis, Adam and Eve had a relationship with God, but they chose to disobey His will for their lives. They hid because they were ashamed, recognizing that their disobedience separated them from God.

God is perfect and holy, and our disobedience — our sin — cannot stand in His presence. But God sought out Adam and Eve because He still loved them. He clothed them with animal hides, a symbol of how death is necessary to pay for humanity’s sins.

Implications for our Kids

For generations after that first act of disobedience, humans made animal sacrifices to pay for their sins. But God always had a better plan for forgiveness. And this is one of the key aspects of leading your child to Christ. Help your children understand that Jesus knew He would die and pay the penalty for our sins. Teach your children how Jesus conquered death once and for all by rising from the grave.

One way to explain the need for a Savior is to ask your child to think about a child meeting someone important, such as the ruler of a country. But she has only one outfit, and she wears it all the time so it’s torn, stained and has an awful stench. She wants to smell better, so she sprays herself with perfume. But now she smells worse — a stench covered by a sweet smell. She is in no condition to go before a king.

Whenever we try to fix our sin with our own effort, we don’t remove the filth. We just cover up the problem. Confessing our sin and asking Jesus to save us means that the stains and smells are gone. He has paid the penalty. We are made clean. The separation is gone. We are fit to stand in the presence of the King.

How to Answer Questions

Sometimes we lose sight of the value of our children’s questions. They are an opportunity to explore the Bible together while building knowledge that strengthens their faith.

For younger children, it’s important to keep terms and concepts as simple as possible. Take hell, for example. Without explaining complicated doctrine, address the reality of an eternity without God. Help your children understand that everything good comes from God. Talk about some of the “good” things that fill your life at home or at school. Next, consider the same scenario but take all the good away — all presence of God gone from a situation or place. What would school be like if only the bad or evil remained? Finally, multiply all evil joined together in one place for all of eternity.

Be Prepared

As your children begin to grasp Jesus and the Gospel’s effect on their lives, they will increasingly show more interest. Your child might exhibit genuine repentance over sin, which isn’t just regret over getting caught and being punished, but more about wanting forgiveness. Pay attention for questions regarding heaven and hell, forgiveness of sins, the nature of God or other concepts. These all indicate that something is going on deep inside. Your child may be ready for the decision to trust Jesus as Lord of her life.

When that faith is obvious in your child, ask if he’d like to pray. Romans 10:9 assures us, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” If your child is ready, provide support either by having him repeat a prayer after you or by coaching.

Afterward, record the date and celebrate your child’s decision! Continue to be deliberate in your support, even when doubts and confusion arise, trusting the Holy Spirit’s work in leading your child to Christ.

Make Time to Talk About Faith

by Mark Holmen

In today’s world, time is one of our most precious commodities. In our increasingly busy lives, we must make the best of the time that we have. So when is the best time to discuss our faith and Jesus with our children? How can we lead our children to Christ. The only reasonable answer is anytime.

Car Time

Doesn’t it seem that the most time you spend together as a family is when you’re in the car, on your way to the next thing you have to do? Try turning off the radio and asking your children what highs and lows they had during the day. Then take a moment to pray for the event that you’re headed to next.

Sick Time

Another significant block of time that you have with your children occurs when they are sick and have to stay home from school. While no one looks forward to his or her child being sick, it does provide time to have a healthy conversation. Sick time gives you a chance to watch videos or listen to music together. So why not choose videos that will naturally lead to talking about issues of faith and life?

Bedtime

There might not be a better time to talk about faith than at bedtime. Share the highs and lows from the day and then take time to pray for each other. With teenagers you can ask, “What’s on your schedule tomorrow that I can pray for? Do any of your friends need prayer for anything?”

Vacation Time

Traveling together over a long distance or just getting away on a long weekend trip can be a great time to reestablish faith-talk in your family. Tithe 10 percent of your vacation time to God. Do a family service project, take some quiet time to read the Bible together, or have a family devotion each day. On the final evening of your vacation, spend time in prayer and worship. This doesn’t have to be elaborate—simply listen to a few contemporary Christian songs and take some time to give thanks for the time you’ve spent together. Take turns sharing one thing that you were thankful for on the trip and one thing you look forward to when you get home.

One-on-One Time

One of the best things that you can do as a parent is to establish the ritual of one-on-one time with each of your children. It can be weekly or monthly, but it needs to be built in to your life rhythm. A failure to establish this time will leave you saying later in life, “I should have done that.” Spend a weekend alone with each of your children, or establish a monthly date night when you see a movie or have dinner together. The particular activity is far less important than your commitment to spend time together.

7 Ways Your Kids Can Connect With God

by Christie Thomas

Some children find it easier to connect with Jesus through their intellect, while others may prefer using their surroundings, routines or service. Pastor and author Gary Thomas refers to these temperaments as “sacred pathways.”

Although your child may have a combination of these pathways that make it easier to be drawn closer to God, one or two of them may stand out a bit more than others. Seek to understand your child so that you can more effectively lead them to Christ.

One day in the spring, as I drove my car, I told my 4-year-old son, “The grass was dead all winter, but now it’s coming back to life. Do you know someone who was dead but came back to life?” His answer, of course, was Jesus! We then had an interesting conversation about the resurrection and power of God — all because of green grass. 

 

I wish this type of conversation would happen more often with my children. I tried starting a similar conversation with an older son, but had less success. One reason is that my kids have different spiritual temperaments, just as they have different bodies, personalities, interests and emotional dispositions. Their spiritual temperaments often affect how they learn about God.

Cultivating Sacred Pathways

Pastor and author Gary Thomas refers to these temperaments as “sacred pathways.” Thomas notes that Christians all have different and acceptable ways of demonstrating their love for God. “Our temperaments will cause us to be more comfortable in some of these expressions than others — and that is perfectly acceptable to God,” Thomas writes in his book Sacred Pathways. “In fact, by worshiping God according to the way He made us, we are affirming His work as Creator.”

Some people find it easier to connect with God through their surroundings or routines, while others may prefer service or using their intellect. A child’s dominant spiritual pathway provides more potential points of connection with God. Although your child may have a combination of these seven temperaments, you’ll find that one or two of them may stand out a bit more than the others.

The Traditionalist

Most children begin life with a need for routine. Traditionalists not only thrive in this environment, but as they grow, they continue needing structure in their faith. Consistent worship times, structured prayers and reliable and meaningful celebrations benefit these young children and their relationship with Jesus.

As traditionalists grow older, they may lean more toward another temperament, while still relying on the basic faith structure they’ve grown up with. Others will become more defined in their traditionalist temperament. They may create their own daily rituals or homework routines; these children thrive on consistency. Leading your child to Christ might take a lifetime.

To incorporate faith-routines into their lives, create special celebrations for Advent, Lent, and Pentecost — celebrations that may feel restrictive to non-traditionalists, but will bring life to someone of this temperament. These children also thrive when they pray at certain times of day or when their prayer times are based on external cues, such as a school bell.

Bible characters to check out:

Abraham (built a lot of altars)

Esther (built up her courage to break a rule to save the Jews)

Bible passages to read together: Colossians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 

The Naturalist

Some children may be wired to connect with God through nature. Some adults feel closest to God when on the top of a mountain or while fishing. Likewise, children feel closest to God while enjoying His creation. They may understand spiritual metaphors better when they are related to the natural world. God uses nature — weeds, gardens, pets, clouds and people — to draw these children closer to Him.

In the case of the naturalist child, a parent will need to help him approach creation mindfully. If your children are young, you should take the lead in pointing out God’s creation draws us to Him. Eventually it will be a natural way for your child to connect with God. Otherwise, they may have a tendency to give nature credit for itself. Talking about nature as a creation of God is key to drawing the naturalist’s eyes to the Creator.

Bible character to check out:

Elijah (a prophet who moved around a lot)

Deborah (judged Israel under a date palm tree rather than from a tent)

Bible passage to read together: Psalm 19:1-6

The Sensate

Children, by nature, are incredibly responsive to sensory input. Some, however, are truly moved by it. In a similar way to the naturalist being moved to worship by natural surroundings, the sensate is moved to worship through the tickling of the senses: art, music, delicious food, intoxicating smells, new textures and dance. This may seem foreign in our culture of bare-walled churches, but heaven itself is often described as a beautiful, exuberant multitude of voices praising in every language (Revelation 15:4; 19:6-7).

To help sensory children connect in a meaningful way with Jesus, proactively point out the aesthetic and tactile beauty of things that God made to arrive at teachable moments. You can ask her, “How does that smell/taste/music make you feel?” or “What does that reflect about faith/God?” If you don’t help them understand that God gave the world its aesthetic beauty through the arts, the culture may convince sensory children that beauty for the sake of beauty is important. Therefore, your short, teachable moments are key for leading your child to Christ.

Bible characters to check out:

David (and his many psalms)

Mary (sister to Lazarus) 

Bible passage to read together: Ezekiel 1-3

The Caregiver

I have a son who follows me around when we’re at home. He loves swishing toilets, making beds and baking, and is constantly looking for little ways to help. In fact, when he is told he can’t help with a certain task, he becomes upset. I have a suspicion that he will find it easier to develop a relationship with God while serving others. Not every child will enjoy serving food to the homeless. To a child like mine, it may feel like pure joy.

The temptation of a caregiver is the same struggle felt by Martha: She was so busy serving Jesus that she forgot to use that service as a way to get to know her Savior. It is fairly simple to expose a child to Christian service. It is another thing altogether to show him how to let his service draw him closer to Christ. When you talk about the child’s acts of service, have him consider which were done with a pure motive to bless others in Jesus’ name and which were done out of pride or feelings of righteousness. Finding the right motivation is key for this child.

Bible characters to check out:

Lydia (a seller of purple cloth who showed hospitality to Paul)

Stephen (supervised the care of widows and orphans in the early church)

Bible passage to read together: Matthew 25:31-46

The Activist

Have you ever met a child who became incredibly upset over injustice? We’ve probably all seen news stories of children who latch onto a particular cause, dedicating their young lives to it. We may be tempted to shield our children from the evil in the world, to keep them in their safe bubble of family and school, but if we choose to ignore the world beyond us, an activist child will become completely overwhelmed by it when she discovers what is happening.

As a parent, your job is to allow your child to witness the ills of the world, in manageable and age-appropriate chunks, to help her develop God’s passion for the downtrodden. Most activists won’t need to be told to stand up for a cause. You will more likely need to hold her back to help her find balance, once she’s recognized God’s heartbeat. However, the temptation of any activist is to become proud in her stand against evil, forgetting her relationship with God. In leading your child to Christ, your role will be to help her seek God’s will, wisdom and humility in her work, using her activism to draw closer to God’s love and truth.

Bible characters to check out:

John the Baptist (prepared the way for Jesus)

Shiphrah (one of the midwives who saved Israelite babies from Egyptians)

Bible passage to read together: Isaiah 58

The Intellectual

When I was a teenager, one of the first things I bought from the Christian bookstore was a concordance. My friend thought I was strange, but I had a deep need to understand God’s Word better. Some children share my deep curiosity and find it easy to dive deep into topics that interest them. The topics may not appear to be “intellectual” as an adult sees them, though. In fact, it may look more like an obsession with dinosaurs or bacteria, but children who love to learn often connect with God in the same way.

As a parent, your job is to feed your child’s intellectual fire with challenging material. It may be books that make him think deeper about faith, Bible studies that you do together or even buying him a concordance for his birthday. Many intellectuals also make excellent teachers because they love to share what they have learned. The temptation here is to become arrogant in knowledge and prideful in the treatment of others, exchanging the Tree of Life for the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil as Adam and Eve did. Parents can help children balance their growing body of knowledge by encouraging them to live out what your children learned in their relationship with Jesus and toward others. If the intellectual pathway rings true for your child, consider partnering with him to a teach a Sunday school class for younger children or allow him to teach younger siblings.

Bible characters to check out:

Ethiopian eunuch (accepted Jesus after Philip ran alongside his chariot)

Priscilla (who opened her home to Paul and learned about Jesus from him)

Bible passage to read together: Acts 8:27-38

The Enthusiast

As a child in the tabernacle, Samuel clearly heard the voice of God. He spent his life following direct orders from God and prophesying to the Israelites. His life was filled with the mystery of nighttime voices, direct revelation from God and even calling down thunderstorms in the name of God. To many, this sounds terrifying and impossible, but to our children with the enthusiast temperament, this type of relationship with God sounds incredible.

You may have a child who is enthusiastic about discerning God’s voice and seeking His will. Parents with an enthusiast child will need to learn how to welcome their child’s connection with God and help develop her discernment skills through biblical knowledge and understanding. Reinforce the truth that God will never contradict His Word. If your child believes she’s sensing the prompting of the Holy Spirit, help her to search through the Bible to find a scriptural foundation that affirms God’s perspective.

Bible characters to check out:

Samuel (the prophet)

Anna (a prophetess)

Bible passage: Ephesians 5:15-20

All Members of One Body

Most Christian parents assume that our way of connecting with God and Jesus is the way our children will or should connect with Him. But there is no one size fits all approach to faith or leading your child to Christ. 

An intellectual parent will tend toward deep Bible study with her children, while a caregiver will focus on finding family service projects and a naturalist will spend a lot of time out in nature with his children. If I am an extremely extroverted enthusiast, it might look odd to me if my introverted child would rather sit in quietness and contemplate God’s love or ponder a section of Scripture. I may feel that my child lacks faith, but the truth may be that my child connects with God in a different way than I do.

So what is our role as parents in our children’s personal connection to God? Our role is to open our eyes to the unique way God is communicating with our children. To lead your child to Christ, find ways to partner with Him to encourage our children’s relationship with Jesus. 

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For Christian families, there’s an overwhelming importance upon understanding the roles of female and male. However, our culture emphasizes different aspects of these roles from Christianity. In the Christian context, the origin point for this conversation lies at the beginning: the creation of woman and man.

6 year old girl and her mom eating ice cream
Connecting with Family

Building Family Identity

Families who nurture shared time, traditions and values create a sense of belonging that helps kids thrive.

Talking to your daughter about beauty and worth
Effects of Media & Technology

Talking to Your Daughter about Her Worth, Identity, and Beauty

Talking to your daughter through the years about her worth, identity, and beauty requires your consistent compassion and investment. Learn more about how to maintain these conversations throughout each age and stage of her life.