A few months ago, I published a post about Raising Kids that Love Jesus. One of the main things I mentioned in the article, was that we needed to start doing what works for our family. But where do we even begin to figure out what works for our family? How can we start raising kids that love Jesus today?
Start Raising Kids that Love Jesus
When I first became a mother, I had been doing children’s ministry as a volunteer for about 10 years and as a vocation for a little over a year. And what my experience as a Children’s Minister and subsequently as a Pastor taught me about raising kids that love Jesus was that it is easier than we think to get started. And, we don’t have to feel overwhelmed. God has given us everything we need to get started. We simply need to explore and try different ways, practices and times to talk about the things of God. So let’s start raising kids that love Jesus!
How to start raising kids that love Jesus:
1.EXPLORE THE WHAT
What can you use as a jumping-off point to engage your kids in talking about scripture or Jesus? What is the first thing we need to do to start raising kids that love Jesus?
Start experimenting with what you already have. Chances are you have several tools lying around your house ready for you to test them out.
- Kids Bibles
- Storybook Bibles
- Phone Apps
- Christian Children’s Subscriptions
- Everyday Life situations and circumstances
2.EXPLORE THE WHEN
What is the second thing we can do to start raising kids that love Jesus. When it comes to raising kids that love Jesus it’s important to consider when is a good time to have these conversations. The short answer to that… Now.
Here’s what I mean. Conversations about Christ can happen anytime; in the car, on the subway ride to school, at the dinner table (at McDonalds or home). Anytime is a great time to talk about Jesus. You don’t need to wait to buy “that book” or that video series. You can start now with what you know about Jesus now.
When trying to figure out what works for your family and raising kids that love Jesus, there are two categories I think about when it comes to the when, the everyday and the seasons and rhythms of our lives.
The Every Day
When it comes to the everyday and how to start raising kids that love Jesus, it’s important to be kind and patient with yourself. Many days we are so busy living life, completing chores and doing all the things, that we ourselves can forget to remember Emmanuel (God with Us). Deciding to pause at various times of your and your kids’ day to “notice and acknowledge” how God is there with you now can make a BIG impression on you and your kids’ hearts.
That acknowledgement could be as simple as pointing to a tree with your toddler in and saying, “Look at that beautiful tree! God made the tree and God made you!” Or asking your older child “What are some ways you noticed God helping you today?” It could also be more involved by pausing and praying with your child when they are nervous or overwhelmed about a test coming up and inviting them to pray too.
The funny thing is, we need these moments of pausing to “notice and acknowledge” as much as the kids do. We need it to help us remember Christ in our everyday, especially when we get lost in the mundaneness of life. Doing this often and regularly can help teach us and our kids how not to compartmentalize God out of our everyday lives, and help them us see Jesus at work in our lives every day. This is key to raising kids that love Jesus.
For many of us this doesn’t come naturally. This, just like any new habit, takes time and practice. Keep at it. Put alarms and notifications throughout your day to remind you to stop with your kids to “notice and acknowledge” Jesus in your everyday.
The other way to think about the “when” is in the rhythms and seasons of life. Our lives have rhythms and seasons that include weekends, holidays, birthdays, special church days, busy days and some slow days (and I stress the word some). Even the actual seasons like Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall lend themselves to creating an atmosphere in which we can notice and acknowledge Christ.
These times are the ones you can make extra special. Here are some of those rhythmic times:
- Sunday after church
- Saturday Family Days
- Celebrating Advent during Christmas time
- Observing Lent on the days leading up to Christs resurrection
Winter: holidays and learning to rest in Christ as the earth beneath our feet rests in preparation for springing new life.
Spring: holidays and growing our spiritual roots deep and wide in anticipation of the growth ahead after a season of dark cold winter days.
Summer: holidays and a time of blooming from the roots that have grown and a celebration of what God is doing in and through our faith.
Fall: holidays and a time when the blooming season ends and we embrace times of change as we put our trust and hope in Christ who holds all things together.
These rhythms and seasons provide for us the space and setting for family traditions and practices that point us to Christ. Don’t have any special practices or traditions like this? You can start some! Do you go apple/pumpkin picking in the fall? Talk about the changing leaves and the harvest of delicious foods and how God provides for us.
What This Might Look Like
As another example, for many of us, Sunday evenings after church are a time when we are getting ready for the week ahead. When I was a kid, my dad would take a special kids Bible written in comic book form (I think it’s called the Action Bible nowadays), and read it to my siblings and I after dinner as we cuddle up in one of our beds. This became a beloved tradition that anchored my us in the stories of the Bible. For me now, being a pastoral family, Sunday’s are hard for us. So my family and I have had to find new times and rhythms to do this with our kids.
When it comes to start raising kids that love Jesus and the “when”, it’s not always easy, and it will look different for you and it will change from time to time. And that’s ok. Go with the flow and just find and make time to talk with your kids about Jesus.
2.EXPLORE THE WHERE
Where can you have these special times to start raising kids that love Jesus? This one, is actually easy. Talk about the Lord wherever you are. I love the verse in scripture when Moses was talking to the people of Israel just before they were to enter the Promised Land. It gives us an idea of the where: Deut. 6:6-9
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
In this, I’m learning that everywhere I go I want to impress God’s truth and love on their hearts. So, I do my best to talk about the Lord on the road, subway and on the way to school. I work to remember to talk about Him in the morning and at night with them. I’ll post scriptures up on my walls so my kids as well as I can see them. I do all I can, to help me and them remember that Jesus is here, Jesus is close and Jesus is in all things. And above all, I pray for them. That they may notice, encounter and acknowledge Christ for themselves every day.
To Start Raising Kids that Love Jesus, It’s a Work of the Holy Spirit
There is no magic formula, no special books or specific things you can do that will magically make your kids love Jesus and follow Him (although books and things can be really helpful tools for parents and kids). It is a work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of our kiddos. It’s not your job to “save” your kids. But to simply point them to the One who can save. To do this, simply start doing what works for your family. And allow Christ to do the rest.
What are some things you do to talk to your kids about God? I’d love to hear the simple, the everyday and all the rest!