Biblical Literacy @ Home
7 Easy Ways to Grow Your Children Spiritually
When I was given a child to raise, I knew that it was my responsibility to grow them up physically, academically, socially, relationally as well as spiritually. I began to lean into my experience of growing up. I did not assume that I could be careless about any area of raising a child. I took my job seriously. I often asked myself how would I like to be cared for as a child. I asked myself how I had learned about God. I asked myself what had drawn me to a personal relationship with God. Whether you were raised in a home where your parents genuinely loved Christ or whether you are new to this idea of Biblical literacy at home, the daily action is so doable.
Recently, I was reading through a Lifeway survey “Nothing Less: Engaging Kids in a Lifetime of Faith.” This survey asked 2,000 parents of young adults to evaluate their adult child’s spiritual health. Parents answered questions about each child’s upbringing related to their spiritual growth.
Below are some of the facts that stood out to me:
Only 29% say FAITH is the most important influence on their parenting.
The church (43%) and Bible (46%) rank low on the list of where Americans look for parenting advice.
Few American parents (9%) include their kids’ godliness or faith in their definition of successful parenting.
Church-related activities top the chart of spiritual activities, while personal spiritual activities rank at the bottom.
- 62% regularly attend church
- 50% participate in social activities
- 44% attend church camp
- 29% regularly read the Bible
- 28% regularly spent time in prayer
- Of the 89% of households that own a Bible, only 19% read the Bible daily.
“We are seeing an ever-widening gulf in American believers between the private faith and and a faith that is passed on. Instead we too often see an emphasis on guiding children to a social morality and toward an as-yet undefined ‘happy’ life.” – Scott McConnell
Let’s talk about spiritual development in our children. To be impactful in the spiritual growth of our children parents must daily, in the grit of living life, apply the truths of God’s Word. In Deuteronomy 11:9 we read, “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
It is in living the everyday with God’s Word that it becomes integrated in our understanding and experience.
When we understand the stages of mental, emotional and academic growth potential in our children, we can tailor their Bible reading and prayer directives. Early exposure to Biblical based music, reading of Bible out loud and prayer habits demonstrated by their parents offer a clear path for our children to mimic.
Young ones see an attitude of genuine pursuit of holiness in the same way that they perceive religiosity only in their parents’ spiritual life. Children know who you really are. They see you daily and hourly. They know your habits, your responses and your choices.
It is impossible to be false.
Many parents struggle with this aspect of parenting because they know who they are spiritually. Some think the best way to respond to their deficiency in this area is to send them to church or to say things like,”I want them to make their own choices about God.” The truth is if you are passionate or all in about something, you will want to communicate it.
Parents must honestly ask themselves
- What is my true passion?
- What do I value?
- Where do I spend my time?
- What is my personal relationship with God?
- What matters to me?”
The way we spend our time is the clearest evidence of what we value. David Platt speaks to the chasing of the American dream. “This, after all, is the goal of the American dream: To make much of ourselves. But here the gospel and the American dream are clearly and ultimately antithetical to each other. While the goal of the American dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God.”
A healthy response for a parent who finds themselves lacking in spiritual maturity is to ask, “Do I want to be spiritually mature? What would it take to grow spiritually?” Like everything else, it takes doing the thing everyday.
In my experience of working to parent children to love the Lord themselves, I have focused on their own knowing of God’s Word and speaking to Him in an ongoing conversation daily.
If you desire that your children love Jesus, here are:
7 Easy Ways to Grow Your Children Spiritually:
- Read YOUR Bible everyday. The best example is action, not words.
- Read a chapter of scripture to your children each day regardless of how old they are. Take time to unpack this. Read out loud. Start with Proverbs or John. Read at the table as your family enjoys breakfast or supper. Read on the way to school if you have a longer commute and the drive is calm enough to read and digest and discuss.
- Find the right Bible for your child. Some ask what is the right version of the Bible…. The READ one, not the red one. We like ESV, New American Standard, and even Living Translation. In your child’s years at home, they might need three Bibles that step up with their maturity.
- Demonstrate reading a section of your Bible and then writing down your favorite verse. We will go over how to interact with your children at each age. Biblical literacy can be responded to uniquely in each stage of your child’s growth. So develop your child’s spiritual growth to match their academic growth.
- Find a community of Christ followers to do life with each day. Walking daily beside like-minded Christ followers will provide strength and encouragement.
- Take time to unpack the scripture. Discuss what you read. Look for the practical application.
- Take time to pray together out loud. Follow the pattern of the Lord’s prayer if you don’t know where to start. One way to teach the pattern of this prayer is to identify the 5 P’s of prayer: Praise, Purpose, Provision, Penitence (remorse) and Protection.
Just like it is with other things, you just have to start.
It is the intentional living in the everyday that makes our lives.
Biblical literacy is seriously such an important part of growing with our children.
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that really don’t matter.” Francis Chan
I love what Priscilla Shirer says about God. “God is the God of ‘right now.’ He doesn’t want you sitting around regretting yesterday, nor does he want you wringing your hands and worrying about the future. He wants you focusing on what he is saying to you and putting in front of you right now.”
Today is a new day.
The future is unwritten.
Focus on action.
What will you do today to grow your child spiritually?