5 Ways to Help Kids Grow in Their Faith

5 Ways to Help Kids Grow in Their Faith

For Christians, helping their kids to know, love, and trust Jesus is often one of their most important goals. Perhaps because it's so important, this desire can also feel overwhelming, intimidating, and scary:

What if we say or do the wrong thing?
What if we push them away?
What if we get it wrong?

Well, friend, here's some good news: you will get it wrong. You will! Somewhere along the line, you will say or do the wrong thingso here at the start, you can commit to showing up and making the effort in spite of this, imperfectly but faithfully, remembering that God is the one who wins and woos our kids. Their faith is not up to us. 

But we get to partner with Him! And that's a privilege, a responsibility, and, honestly, a delight. Here are five ways you can come alongside your favorite kids to help them grow in their faith.

Write the Word for Kids

Get comfortable with questions

Lots of research has been done on which factors matter in developing a "sticky faith," or one that lasts after the child has left their parents' home. One potent factor? A home environment that welcomes questions and doubt instead of cutting them off or shutting them down.

But entertaining our kids' questions can feel scary. On the one hand, it might make us nervous that they're asking questions at all, and on the other, we might worry that we won't know how to answer them! Thankfully, we can feel those fears and then set them aside: the Christian faith is sturdy enough to hold up to even the most stringent questions.

In our house (where we definitely don't know all the answers!), we respond to every question about faith with "great question!" We hope that immediate response lets our kids know that we're truly grateful they're engaging us in conversation and that they trust us to honor their questions. If we don't know the answer, we can always say something like, "That's such a great question. I'm not sure of the answer. Let's try to figure it out together" or "Let me do a little research and get back to you, okay?"

For a simple, low-key way to make your home more conducive to questions and wonder, you might love the Faith & Kids Conversation Card Deck. It's truly one of my favorite products in the Cultivate shop—we keep ours on our kitchen counter, and our kids thoroughly enjoy selecting and discussing cards at dinner.

Model what following Jesus looks like

Just as we look to Jesus as our example for what living a life of faith looks like, our kids look to us as their closest and most available adult. This is a big responsibility, but again, we can remember that perfection is impossible and also not required. Small, consistent actions over time will add up, little by little. These actions might be reading the Bible, praying, serving others, prioritizing community, listening to worship music, or giving generously. 

As you do these things (and more!), think about how you might invite your kids into them. Can you read a physical Bible instead of a version on your phone, so that they can see what you're doing? Can you invite them to join you in quiet time, Write the Word® journals in hand? Can you pray for them at bedtime? Can you bring them with you when you deliver a meal? 

The more compelling and life-changing following Jesus appears, the more our faith seems to result in the fruit of the spirit, the more our kids will be enticed to join us. 

Go to church

Without doing anything else, attending church every Sunday communicates major truths to our kids: God is the center of life. God is worthy of praise and worship. The Christian life requires sacrifice and discipline. As in so many areas of life, actions (especially consistent actions) speak louder than words.

Of course, "going to church" is not always as simple as it should be. It is certainly worth carefully searching for and vetting a potential church home. And even then, faithfully going to church, week after week, means opening yourself to the influence of others. It specifically means releasing your children into spaces where they’ll be taught by others in a situation beyond your control. It means entering into community and being known. It requires trust.

This might all feel scary (we like control as parents, don't we?!). But it would be a shame to let fear or apathy keep us from one of the most central parts of the Christian faithgathering and worshiping regularly with other believers—because the potential goodness on the other side far outweighs the bad.

Prioritize their friendships with other believers

Most of our kids will have plenty of opportunities to befriend non-Christians. That's great! But as parents, we also get to help them come to know, love, and trust other kids who are also trying to become more like Jesus. We can do this by consistently attending church and Sunday School, joining a small group, getting together with church friends outside of Sundays, and facilitating playdates.

We don't need to force relationships, and we (usually) don't need to forbid relationships. But by our actions, we can encourage them to include strong Christian friendships in their friendship mix.

Keep a schedule with margin

There are so many more ways we can help our kids grow in their faith that aren't listed here: we can pray together! We can serve together! We can read the Bible and books together! But perhaps the most important way is this: we can keep a schedule that actually allows time and space to disciple our kids. 

To go to church.
To follow the spiritual disciplines ourselves.
To invite friends over for dinner.
To ask and answer questions.

The best intentions and the most potent tools can still be bulldozed by a work, homework, or extracurricular schedule that leaves no time for simply being together as a family: for sitting around the dinner table, for taking a walk and talking, for snuggling before lights out. That's when the magic happens. That's when the faith is passed down. If there's just one "way" you consider adopting, let it be this one.

Your turn! How have you helped the kids in your life grow their faith? We'd love to hear!

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Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is Cultivate What Matters' Content Strategist and Writer. With over a decade at Cultivate, Emily loves helping women uncover what matters, set good goals, and live them out with joy. Her free time is spent with her high-school-sweetheart husband and three young kiddos.

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