As a church family, we’ve spent some time this year learning how to share our stories. We’ve heard stories about the transforming power of the Gospel working in so many of us, and heard about how God has rescued, changed, and grown us step by step into the men and women He’s calling us to be. It has been truly beautiful.
As a parent, I want my child to have that same experience of God’s transforming love.
Beyond that though, I want my child to, as he grows, be able to share his story of how God has changed his life and rescued him. At the Creek, we believe that children are not just the church of the future. They are the church, now.
But, probably like in your household, getting children to take their faith seriously and take big scary next steps can be difficult. At every age, there are challenges. Helping your child be able to share their story is not impossible, and I’d love to share just a few simple ideas that might help you help them as your family seeks to follow and know Jesus more closely.
Without further ado, here are four ideas you can start with!
1. Start with the Gospel.
More than taking any action, we want our children’s hearts to be transformed. Make sure your child or student has a clear understanding of the Gospel and can share it with you, before you expect them to try to share it with anyone else. It won’t be perfect (just like with us!), but as they learn to share the Gospel, they will actually grow in their own personal understanding of God’s love for them. You can use acronyms, the Roman road, or just work on getting key scriptures and moments across to your child and talking through how they relate to their life. No matter the method, both of you will grow!
2. Help them think about important highlights and lowlights in their life, and how God used those moments.
For older children and students, this may take longer, simply because of the number of highlights and lowlights in their life. But help them to see the big picture of their life – the good and beautiful things that have happened, the hard things that have happened, and how God has acted on their behalf throughout each. Take time to thank God for his presence in each situation. This is also a great time to make sure that your child has actually taken the step of confessing Jesus as Lord and resting in His goodness.
3. Help your child pray for their friends; Especially friends who don’t have a relationship with God.
Help your child make a list of their friends, and take the time to pray for them! This doesn’t have to be complicated, but where your child knows about a need or a hurt, help them to pray for the other child. God will work on their heart, and they may even be led to reach out or help in some tangible way!
4. Encourage your child along the way.
Knowing your story, sharing your story, and continually praying for others is a huge challenge for adults. For children, it’s especially important that they are encouraged along the way, and that you are modeling what you want them to be doing. It’s also important for them to feel hopeful and loved as they try out sharing their story with their peers. As the loving adult in the situation, I want to encourage you – this is a great opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your child and let them know you love them, even when things go off the rails and don’t end in the way you had both hoped.
As you and your child work through your stories, grow in your knowledge of the Gospel, and share what God has done with others, I’m praying that you would see incredible fruit and be filled with the hope that will never leave you. Thank you for partnering with us in the discipleship of your child!
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