The following article is from a special guest friend and writer, Katie J. Trent. I hope it is a blessing to you. To discover more about Katie, read all the way to the end of the post.
As homeschoolers, we build our families on the foundation of our Christian faith. Reading the Bible together, church fellowship, and individual routines such as daily devotions and scripture memorization are fundamental disciplines for many of us.
But how do we move from these external habits to building a faith that captures our kids hearts and minds, and transforms them from the inside out?
Ultimately, we can’t control their decisions as adults. But we can be intentional in the way we disciple them today to cultivate a deep relationship with Jesus instead of a pattern of religious behaviors.
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Here are my 7 best tips for cultivating strong, faith-filled families in our weekly homeschool routines:
#1: Make It a Family Affair
In our attempt to build strong character in our kids, we often focus on behavior modification instead of life transformation.
The most effective way to combat this tendency is to turn me into we, and you into us.
For example, instead of pointing out how our child needs to be kind, we emphasize how our family values kindness. We talk about our own struggles and discuss ways we can work together to become a family known for kindness.
Our kids need to know we don’t expect perfect behavior. Instead, they should see us challenging each other to grow in Christlike character daily.
Our faith isn’t just about what we do. It’s about who we are becoming as we grow in relationship with Jesus.
#2: Embrace Teachable Moments
Every challenging situation provides us with a unique opportunity to teach biblical principles in practical ways. Take time to address issues and explore heart attitudes behind behavior. These are the best moments to show your kids Jesus.
Also, pray together! Show them how you bring praises, requests, and burdens to God.
Model the behavior you want to see. Show them how to ask for forgiveness, to serve with the faithfulness of Christ, and to love generously.
#3: Have Difficult Conversations
Conversation is key in every relationship. The better we learn to communicate, the stronger relationships become.
Practice the art of conversation from a young age. Ask your child things like:
- How do you feel about that?
- What do you think?
- What does the Bible teach us about this?
- How could we respond differently next time?
- Who did our choices impact?
- What could have happened if…?
#4: Keep it Simple
Have you ever investigated the progression of Bible versions available for babies, toddlers, young kids, teens, and adults?
If not, I encourage you to take a look. Bibles for babies and toddlers start with the most important stories, told in the simplest of ways. Language and concept complexity increases as you graduate through the various Bible types.
This very progression is a perfect example of how we build faith! Start simple. Go deeper as your children mature.
We don’t have to be theologians or even know what that word means in order to disciple our kids! We simply start with what we do know.
It’s also essential to teach our kids not all questions have answers, and that’s where faith comes in. By teaching them what you know and being honest about things you don’t, you are demonstrating that faith can endure a few unanswered questions.
Of course, you could also seek out answers together. Show your kids how to use resources such as Bible study tools, reference resources, prayer, and even the pastors in your life.
#5: Connect the Dots
Every day life is filled with opportunities to connect biblical principles to practical application.
Here are some examples:
When siblings fight, share verses about how to love one another. Suggestions: Proverbs 15:1, 1 Peter 2:17, Matthew 5:21-22, 1 John 3:11-16.
When your children disobey, help them understand the importance of obedience. (Look at Ephesians 6:1-3, Colossians 3:20, and Proverbs 6:20.) Talk about how Saul’s partial obedience was still considered disobedience and cost him the kingdom (1 Samuel 13-15).
When we help our kids connect the dots, the Bible comes alive as an essential part of our daily life instead of just being a bedtime story. It also reminds them to turn to the Bible in their everyday life as they grow.
#6: Focus on Fun
Building our faith can and should be fun! It’s not about rules and limits. It’s about a better, more fulfilling life. We can demonstrate this by having fun even as we disciple.
Want some ideas? Don’t just read the Bible. Instead, act it out. Draw illustrations. Create a project using your child’s strengths. Sing praise songs in the car. Get messy and apply lessons to everyday life.
#7: Cultivate Meaningful Memories
Have you ever had a bad experience with food?
Maybe you ate something that made you sick. Once that memory is imprinted, it’s hard to overcome. You get a sour taste when you see or smell it and nothing will convince you to try it again.
The same is true of the way we build our family’s faith. If we overemphasize rules, performance, and perceptions, it can leave a sour religious taste in our kids’ minds.
But when they taste and see that the Lord is good (Proverbs 34:8), their memories build a solid foundation of faith. This will help them stand firm and flourish as adults!
There is a reason the Israelites built stones of remembrance (Joshua 4, 1 Samuel 7:12). Testimonies are incredibly powerful.
Write down moments God has moved in your family’s life. Share your testimony with your kids. Encourage them to share their own testimonies with others. Keep track of answered prayers.
These are their stones of remembrance. When they reflect on their childhood, their memory banks will be full of beautiful, faith-building memories. They will be more likely to pursue their relationship with Jesus as adults because faith has become a priceless privilege. Not a punishment.
Get More Inspiration…Right Now!
So much so, I created a free family faith-building bundle just for you! It’s packed with over 140+ pages and 18 amazing resources to activate your family’s faith.
Fun for the Whole Year!
If you’re looking for even more simple and inexpensive ways to build your family’s faith, you’re going to love my new devotional: Dishing Up Devotions: 36 Faith-Building Activities for Homeschooling Families.
- It’s filled with 36 short weekly family faith-building activities.
- It also has encouragement for mom, conversation starters, and simple baking recipes to reinforce the weekly theme!
Even though Dishing Up Devotions was written for homeschoolers, the activities are suitable for any family who loves Jesus and wants to grow their faith.
Learn more at DishingUpDevotions.com.
About the Author:
Katie is a popular author, speaker, and homeschool mama of two. She’s also a Pinterest drop-out with a messy house and happy kids—most of the time.
After spending years helping others improve their lives through counseling and ministry, Katie realized the most fulfilling (and challenging) work she would ever do actually happens within her own home.
Her new book Dishing Up Devotions: 36 Faith-Building Activities for Homeschooling Families is now available for preorder, releasing November 9th, 2021. Find more resources to grow your faith, strengthen your family, and simplify your homeschool at KatieJTrent.com.