As a Christian parent, one of my major concerns when my children were growing up was, “How do I help them grow to be spiritually centered and connected?” As I watched my children grow, and as I have been in ministry with children for over twenty years, there are a few tips I wanted to personally share to help you in your journey as a parent or grandparent.
First, as research shows, the faith principles and practices that a child absorbs by age thirteen boldly shapes their spirituality for the duration of their life. Parents have a greater impact on that process than anyone else. (Barna) Bringing children to church is so important, but you cannot just drop them off and leave their spiritual development to the church. You must be active in their faith development. I would suggest making time every day to pray and read the Bible with them. Those habits will last into adulthood.
Talk to your children about current situations that are happening in our world. Remember, your children have access to more information than ever before, and as much as you want to protect them from all of the things happening it is just not possible. So, talk to them and let them talk to you. Then look for Biblical examples of how our current situations really are not that different than things happening to people in the Bible.
Assure them that God is in control and they can trust Him and depend on Him. You might have a prayer request list that you pray through with them so they can see the different ways God answers prayer. Even when things don’t work out the way they may have wanted, you can talk to them about how God is still working and that He loves them. As Dr. Creech said in his sermon, “God is not a genie in a bottle granting us all our wishes”. Kids really need to learn this. It is so important for their spiritual foundation in the future.
Live out your faith. In addition to making parenting a 24/7 priority, research found that parents must have an authentic and vibrant faith in order to provide meaningful spiritual guidance to their children. “Children rarely embrace spiritual principles and practices that their parents fail to demonstrate in their lifestyle.” (Barna) Let kids see God work in your life. It’s okay for them to see you struggle at times. They need to see you lean on God during hard times and watch how you do this. When our son was so sick in the hospital, we were in Seattle and the children’s ministry would send me cards that the kids would create for us. Faith Brough was a sixth grader at the time and I will never forget what she wrote, “You have taught us about faith, now we get to watch you have faith”. WOW! What incredible insight, but it really reminded me of how important it was for me during the darkest days of my life to live out my faith. It’s not easy, but kids get that too.
Add some people to your spiritual circle to help. Church is a great way to do that. Let us partner with you. Grandparents or other family members who are believers can be of great value. Create some family traditions with extended family or friends that revolve around spiritual connections. And ask those people to pray for your kids. My children were blessed with two sets of grandparents that have prayed for them daily all of their lives. That is the greatest gift that someone can give your child.
I pray 2022 will be a spiritual year for your family. If I can help in any way, please reach out to me. I am always happy to help.
Minister of Children