How Christians Pass On Their Faith, The Long List of Resources
This past Sunday we looked at How Christians pass on their faith. The full sermon can be found here. In looking at how Christians pass on their faith, we used an oddly-titled book using the metaphor of an odd science experiment, Frogs Without Legs Can’t Hear by David W. Anderson.
The metaphor is how we can look at a problem and miss the obvious. For years and years the answer to passing on our faith has been given to the Church when the true answer—as current research has showed over and over—that the best way is for this to happen in the family home.
Yes, this is intimidating.
Our own personal faith is a broken road of faith so it feels like something we shouldn’t pass on and it would be better and wiser to have the “church experts” do it. Read that blog to read our list of promises to you. One of those promises is to resource you well. So here you go. Get ready for this long list of good resources from Janice and I. We tried our best to steer you out of dorky resources but ones we have grown to love over our combined years of loving on kids and teens.
Every week after Team Jesus Janice sends home with your child a take home page called "Today I learned ..." This is ready-made for you to further discuss that Sunday’s lesson for Team Jesus in your home with you as the guide. It can’t get any simpler and it would be specifically matching what is happening in Team Jesus.
While They Are Sleeping: 12 Character Traits to Pray for the Children You Love by Ann Arkins. The title is what it is and you will be grateful you started this practice. And it’s not just for toddlers (hint, hint)!
There are thousands of kids devotional books for you to purchase to use during a bed time or daily practice together. These three just come recommended out of the heap:
God's Little Devotional Book for Kids by V. Gilbert Beers
3 Minute Devotions for Families by Janice Thompson
The Bible is My Best Friend Family Devotional by Sheila Walsh
Do you have one you loved from your childhood or have used with your little ones? Let Janice or I know and we will add it here.
Truth for Kids - This is a recommended website full of devotional and other resources to aid you. Again there are thousands of other websites, do you have any you have used we can add to this list?
Hands On Bible – This is the Bible all TAG members have been given, is what is used for TAG Bible and TAG Second Look, and is theirs to take home and read themselves throughout the week (and bring back every Sunday!). Open that Bible up together! Ask your tween to show you what was taught on Sunday. You will notice on the pages other devotionals you can read together from what was taught on Sunday or in a book of the Bible you two decide to read together. When you look through this Bible you will also find science experiments (that is not a misprint). Do one of those a week together! You both can get your hands dirty and learn together. A faith discussion will easily pop out of that. This Bible is full of ways for faith discussions to happen.
Gadgets & Gizmos – Uniquely Wired, Wonderfully Made - A 9 week devotional you can do together that once again includes science and challenges.
Growing Compassionate Kids by Jan Johnson – I have given this book to parents for years. Practical and doable ideas.
S&L Parents – This is an email newsletter that is sent twice a month on Tuesdays with encouragement and an idea or two of how to pass on your faith to your teen. If you want to be added to this email list, send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Devotions together – Both of you can read and you both have nearly the same attention span. Together pick out a devotional book that interests you both. Together you both need to commit to meet together every day to spend this time together. Keeping this commitment may be the hardest part of this idea because once you get started you will be surprised at how much you will look forward to this time together every day. The following are a few that I’ve done and recommend—though there are many other books to choose from. You may also want to find a specific subject to study together.
Lies We Believe About God by Wm. Paul Young
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers – This is the best devotion book of all time. So many nuggets of truth that never age out. Make your first time using this book with your teen.
10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know by Kari Kampakis – Great book, Peace Girls will be going through this one eventually. Get a head start and add your voice to it.
My Brother's Keeper: Christians Who Risked All to Protect Jewish Targets of the Nazi Holocaust by Rod Gragg – Not a devotional book but true stories you can read one a day and initiate a conversation with.
With a daughter, any Jessie Minassian book.
Truth About the Real Heaven - What do you know about heaven? What are your assumptions about heaven? Do those assumptions line up with the Bible? This is a must-do (my opinion) and an idea all of you will gain a lot from. The resource and topic are fascinating, Touchpoints: Heaven by Randy Alcorn . The book is a compilation of questions about heaven all answered with good scriptural backing. Fascinating questions which you may think only you have thought about. For example here are some of the many questions available: Will we wear clothes in heaven? Will we be unique in heaven? Will we appear the same age? What languages will we speak? Will there be extinct animals in heaven? Read through just a question or two and have a full discussion, even sharing your surprise at some of the Biblical answers (because you will be surprised). It is fascinating.
Taxi Drive Times – Due to your teen’s schedule the two of you spend a lot of time in the family taxi. That is a lot of trapped time to have a discussion that both of you know will end in 10-minutes because you will have arrived at your destination. Knowing there is an end to this conversation helps both of you engage deeper with each other. So here are five favorite ways to maximize that Taxi Drive Time and pass on your faith:
Where Did You See God at Work Today? - This is one question. Yet you can see what kind of conversation this one question could lead to. Ask your teen this question at the end of the day drive. Then allow your teen to ask this question of you—and be ready to answer to allow that conversation to happen.
Books of the Bible Songs - Invest $0.99 and download one of those silly Books of the Bible songs. There are even rap options. The purpose of these generally annoying yet catchy songs is so the listener can learn some memory tricks to memorize the order of the books of the Bible. Play this song on the drive every so often as a means for your teen--and you!--to memorize the books of the Bible. The song may be annoying or painfully catchy which will add to the memory. The best part is that your teen (and you!) will become even more familiar with the Bible and have this lifelong skill of knowing the order of the books of the Bible.
Create a Worship Playlist - Create a playlist of worship songs that you have noticed that your family has liked. During a taxi drive just turn it on. Especially if it has been a stressful day. Maybe a song will be requested to be put on repeat for the entire drive. Thankfully the songs will be right there available to minister for that stressful time.
Adding Wisdom to Your Life - Both of you answer, who is the wisest person you know and why. Each of you share one story about what makes this person so wise then offer up the best advice this person ever gave you. Expound on why this was the best advice ever and how it affected your life. Then both of you finish this sentence, “I would be much wiser if I ________________. Each of you set a goal to accomplish the answer to this sentence. Commit to hold each other accountable to meet that goal.
Reading the Bible While You Wait - Do you sometimes wait through a practice? Or wait if the meeting runs late? Bring your Bible and read it while you are waiting. Not only is it a good use of your time but more importantly, your teen will catch you reading the Bible.
Family Activities (all ages)
How about some creative ideas that will allow you to pass on your faith and create some family memories? Besides the AND Events and all of the service opportunities that are available for all of you through Spirit & Life. Here are four ideas to get you started:
Finding God - Read Romans 1:20 together as a family. Discuss briefly how you can find God anywhere. Then send everyone in the family around the house (your yard may be included) looking for an object where they see God. Give them 10 minutes. Gather back together again and let each one discuss what they found and why.
Prayer Starters – Praying out loud together is generally an awkward family practice. Mostly because it takes practice to get comfortable with this--practice you feel like you don’t have enough of to lead your family in prayer out loud.
Create a box/bag/basket/tin of these prayer starters. A prayer starter is a beginning prayer prompt to lead someone to pray. Write these prayer starters on slips of paper and place in your “prayer box.” During your family time take turns pulling out one prayer starter and use that to pray together out loud. One sentence prayers are a-okay. A list of prayer starters:
Please help me do better when I…
Please help my friends and family, especially…
God, you are…
For those I said I would pray for…
God, thank you for…
Jesus, I ask that you…
Holy Spirit, guide my life so that I…
Glory be to the…
Lord Jesus Christ, I pray for…
God, sometimes I feel…
Jesus, help me to be like you in…
Father, help me to know that you…
Family Giving to Charity – Call a family meeting. Openly discuss which charities and how much you as a family would like to donate. Allow your child to pick out charities which are important to him/her. You also get to add in missionaries who you know and don’t forget about your church family! Research together what happens to the money once it is donated to a charity. Is the charity reputable? Does a much smaller percentage actually end up in the hands of the charity? Decide how the money will be collected to donate. If it is a local charity, take a family field trip there. Once a year your family should have this annual “charity budget” meeting to make these decisions.
Plant Project - Prepare five pots of flowers or plants in the same way. Maybe do it as a family together. You may want to name your plants with human names. Explain that you are going to care for the five plants in different ways over the next month. One is going to receive water and sunlight every day. The water and sunlight represent Bible reading and prayer. Ask what do they expect to happen to the plant who gets fed every day. One is going to be fed everyday with pop (not soda, I’m from Minnesota!). The pop represents the junk we put in our lives every day. Ask what kind of junk do we put in our lives every day. How do you think the junk will affect the plant? One plant is going to be fed saltwater every day. The saltwater represents sin, even little sins. How do they think the saltwater will affect the plant? After all, it is only a little bit of salt while there is still water and sun. One plant is only going to be fed on Sundays. Can a plant or a person live on only being fed one day a week? And one plant is not going to be fed at all. What will happen to that plant?
Over the next month, gather the family together weekly to watch the growth (or lack of growth) of all the plants. Discuss what is happening and how it applies to our lives as growing Christians. At the end of the month, discuss how you can apply what was learned to your lives.
Faith Talk Cards
30 Days Turning the Hearts of Parents by Richard Ross – The work is done for you for 30 days. Each day you and your child will break the seal on an envelope filled with cards. You will find 5 cards with clear instructions to have this faith conversation together.
Are these enough resources for you? Seriously, church family, I have files and files more and am discovering new ones all the time. We are a church who is going to walk along side of you as you pass on your faith to your child. This is our commitment to you because we believe you can do this.