Passing on faith to the next generation has been a biblical mandate from God to parents since the Garden of Eden.
It was inscribed on the hearts of every Jewish family in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 with the express purpose of encouraging a lifelong pursuit of a love for God that would envelop every molecule of a child’s being and existence: ”And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise”.
Unfortunately, many parents feel ill-equipped to pass along their faith to the next generation.
This feeling doesn’t just exist in parents, but across all generations. It is sometimes difficult to know where to start. This fact sheet is designed to give you some practical tips and ideas on how to encourage a conversation about faith with those around you.
Family time – Time is one of our most precious commodities, we often say we don’t have time to share in the busyness of life, so when is the best time to talk about our faith? The answer is in the Bible verse above – at all times!
Car time – As parent’s, doesn’t it feel like we are always in the car going somewhere! What a great place to have a conversation – you have a captive audience. Try turning the radio off, removing technology from the passengers (including Mum!) and share the highs and lows of the day. Take a moment to pray for the event you are heading to, or coming from.
Bed time – Bed time is a great opportunity to share things that have happened during the day. Ask questions about your children’s friends and what they’ve been doing. With teenagers you can ask what their tomorrow looks like or if they have anything you can be praying for.
Meal time – Take a moment to give God thanks and praise before eating, whether it be at breakfast or dinner time. This is a great ritual to begin with your family that can be passed through the generations. Meal times are also a great time to share highs and lows. Often it is the only time you are together as a family, especially if you have teenagers or children that are busy with sport or other activities. Make the most of this time and share together. Maybe you could use this time to have a regular family devotion.
Holidays – Holidays give families an opportunity to intentionally spend time together. Dedicate some time to reading a family devotion, praying, listening and singing to worship music. Intentionally put ‘God-time’ into the holiday. Take turns sharing things you are grateful for on the holiday, and something you are looking forward to when you get home.
One-on-one time – Establishing the ritual of one-on-one time with each of your children will deepen your relationship immensely and also provide an opportunity to share your faith. Make time for a weekly or monthly ‘date’ when you have a milkshake or see a movie together.
It is something you will look back on and never regret doing.