Encouraging faith conversations
Deuteronomy 6: 6-7 was given 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. If faith conversations aren’t natural in your house, it can be uncomfortable and you may be unsure where to start. Firstly, always know that you can rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you; He will give you the words to say and help you when you feel ‘stuck’.
Be bold and confident in what you believe. Know whose you are and know that God will always be with you. Ask God what it is He wants you to say.
WHAT YOU KNOW IS ENOUGH
One of the biggest fears we have when sharing our faith is that we don’t know enough. You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to share your faith. The disciples Peter and John were ‘in training’ when they spent time with Jesus. It’s important for us as parents to nurture our own faith, spending time in the Word and in God’s presence so that our knowledge and relationship with Him grows. You will be pleasantly surprised and encouraged how God uses what you have been reading to interact in our conversations with our children.
They couldn’t take their eyes off them, Peter and John standing there so confident, so sure of themselves! Their fascination deepened when they realised these two were laymen with no training in Scripture or formal education. Acts 4:13
SHARE YOUR STORY
Share what God has done for you. Your story of how God has worked in your life is powerful. Be vulnerable and open (within reason) with your children. You may never know how your words will encourage and influence them.
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!
Here are some tips to get started:
Car time - As parents, 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 adults!) and share the highs and lows of the day. Take a moment to pray for the event you are heading to, or coming from.
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 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 busy with sport and activities. Make the most of this time and share together. Maybe you could use this time to have a regular family devotion. Take small steps, in some families you are only together for a meal at the same time once a week – start there!
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.
Grow has developed a set of cards that can be a great tool to encourage meaningful faith conversations with your children. We have a set for primary aged children and high school+. They are divided into different categories and can be an excellent place to inspire you all to start talking.