Children who experience Bible engagement as a regular slice of family life are more likely to love and live for Jesus through adulthood than children who don’t. This isn’t conjecture, it’s fact.
If you take parents from any denomination, with the same levels of faith and frequency of attendance, the parents who prioritize Bible engagement in their homes are the ones who are more likely to see their children committing themselves to Jesus and staying connected with a community of faith.
Bible engagement makes all the difference. When parents, together with their children, read, reflect, and respond to the Bible, it provides a rock-solid foundation for faith (cf. Matthew 7:24-27). But when Bible engagement is neglected in the home, children are more likely to turn their back on Jesus and leave the church.
Every day practice
For parents concerned about the spiritual wellbeing of their children, the answer is simple: Make Bible engagement part of daily life. Here are some ways to do this:
- Generate regular discussions about the Word. Families who frequently talk about the Scriptures open the door for Jesus to enter in.
- Create and maintain a “sacred space” in the home. This is a designated place where a member of the family can sit and quietly read/listen to God’s Word.
- Make sure your children see you reading/listening to the Bible. This communicates non-verbally that contemplating or studying God’s Word is one of your daily priorities and core values.
- Make the Scriptures visible. For example, handwritten verses on sticky notes on the fridge door, or send verses as text messages to older children who have phones
- Memorize Scripture. Make it a monthly challenge for the whole family (maybe practice together each night after supper).
- Watch Bible videos/films together.
- Have Bible comics or graphic adaptations of the Bible sitting on a coffee table where they’re more likely to be picked up and read.
- Look for unplanned opportunities (teachable moments) to share biblical insights with your children.
What churches can do
For churches concerned about the spiritual wellbeing of children, the answer is also simple: Equip parents with Bible engagement strategies and tools. Here are some ways to do this:
- Train parents in basic Bible engagement practices, i.e., how to interpret, teach, apply, and pray the Scriptures.
- Provide Bible reading guides suitable for families and different age groups.
- Invite families to share testimonies with the congregation about how they meet with God as a direct result of the Bible engagement that happens in their homes.
- Publicly champion the role of parents as the primary disciple-makers in their children’s lives.
- Practically encourage and build parents confidence so they can thrive in leading family Bible engagement.
Parents and churches need to work together. Bible engagement is the single most important spiritual discipline in the faith development of our children. So we can’t let Bible engagement fall through the cracks. If family Bible engagement isn’t happening in the home, everything possible should be done to make it a priority.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lawson Murray is the president of Scripture Union Canada. This article first appeared on the Bible Engagement Blog, a blog of Scripture Union Canada. It is reprinted and used with permission.