Welcome the first experiment with our book study feature! We are just starting Sticky Faith by Kara Powell & Chap Clark, so if you are just in time to join us. Be sure to share with your friends if you find this useful!
Chew on these numbers. Of teenagers whose families are actively integrated with a church, 1 in 8 talk with their mom about faith. 1 out of 20 talks to their dad about faith. 1 out of 11 engages in regular devotions or reading of Scripture with their family (p. 71).
As followers of Jesus who have been baptized and received the Holy Spirit, we have forgotten our identity (Romans 8:14-17; John 15:14-17; Ephesians 1:5) and our calling (Matthew 28:18-20; Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Proverbs 22:6). Perhaps, we as pastors and ministers have contributed with our allowing parents to believe that having your children in our youth ministry and Confirmation programs are more impactful than their Scripturally intended roles, as a collaborative partnership to reinforce the faith being taught to children and teenagers daily by their parents. On the macro level, the American church is dying because the vast majority of parents and adults in our congregations don’t believe God is worth discussing outside Sunday morning.
So what’s the first bite of the elephant?
Start asking your kids about their faith AND talk about your faith. If you don’t equally share, it’s just an interview. When was the last time you looked forward to engaging in an interrogation?
Don’t skip the tough topics. Sex, self-worth, existence of God, is forgiveness real, homosexuality, hell, bad things happening to good and innocent people. Start reading your Bible and understanding it. You can’t be taken seriously if you run from the hard things. If you don’t know the answer, humbly suggest that the two of you set up a time to go meet with a pastor or minister.
Encourage individual thought. A great faith conversation doesn’t equal convincing them what you believe is best. When you feel stumped, suggest that you both do some independent researching over the next few days.
Choose time with your kids. Have regular times with each child to talk, catch up, and learn how God created them. Ask questions and listen. Save the lecture for another time.
Do something together. Sometimes coffeehouses and ice cream dates just aren’t enough to get conversation going. Do a project together, go to a movie and discuss it afterwards, play mini-golf.
Go beyond the devotions. Devotions are great time for sharing and growing together, but make faith talk part of the fabric of your family. Ask how your kids saw God at work today during dinner. When you get frustrated, pray with your child that you would have a refreshed spirit. Invite them to understand your faith.
Pages 72-92 are some of the most awesome specific ideas for helping parents engage their children in faith discussions!
- What was the best conversation you recently had with your child? Why did it go so well?
- What touchy subjects do you need to bring up with you child? How you can help disarm their defenses to hearing it?
- What rituals do you have as a family to share your faith?