How to engage children in a lifetime of faith.
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More than Bible Lessons and Choruses: How to Engage Children in a Lifetime of Faith

What does it take to engage children in a lifetime of faith?

Is it Bible study, prayer, engaging in worship, talking about God, serving others, being part of a faith community, or building relationships with other Christians? Is it teaching a Christian worldview, helping children walk in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, telling them what you believe, or modelling a godly example?

We can do all of the above and still come up short. Children can sing choruses, attend youth groups, pray for the healing of the sick, memorize Scripture, learn doctrine, or care for the poor, yet still walk away from God and His people.

So, what makes a difference? Is there a magic formula for faith formation? Is there something we aren’t doing? Do we need more enthusiasm and effort? Not really. What we teach and tell children to do, in and of itself, will never adequately engage children in a lifetime of faith.

What we teach and tell children to do, in and of itself, will never adequately engage children in a lifetime of faith. Click To Tweet

The best we’ve got to give will never be enough. You may be the world’s best parent, but it won’t guarantee your children will engage in a lifetime of faith. You may be your denomination’s best children’s pastor, but it won’t ensure every child in your church will engage in a lifetime of faith. As the prophet says, “Our best efforts are grease-stained rags” Isaiah 64:6 (MSG).

Here’s the bottom line …

Nothing less than Jesus can engage children in a lifetime of faith!

Nothing less than Jesus can engage children in a lifetime of faith! Click To Tweet

While you may do many good things, you may not do the best. Are you being sidetracked? You might not want to admit it, but you can’t rely solely on Bible lessons or choruses. Nor can you rely on rituals, sacraments, confirmation classes, or supernatural encounters to engage children in a lifetime of faith.

That’s not to say that Bible engagement isn’t the most important spiritual discipline influencing a child’s faith formation. Nor is it to say that the filling of the Spirit isn’t vital for informing and empowering a child’s faith. It’s simply a recognition that if Jesus isn’t preeminent in a child’s life, the Christian things they learn and experience will never be enough to sustain lifelong faith.

If Jesus isn’t preeminent in a child’s life, the Christian things they learn and experience will never be enough to sustain lifelong faith. Click To Tweet

Children need a dynamic, intimate, and meaningful relationship with Jesus. They can’t ride on the coattails of their parent’s faith. They must be individually captured and captivated by the awesomeness of Christ. He must be their forever best friend. He must be the One who intoxicates their hearts and minds and takes their breath away!

You can have the twigs, kindling, logs – everything you need to make a fire, but without a flame, there’s no blaze. Similarly, you can have God’s Word, prayer, and acts of service – everything you need to be a Christian, but without Jesus, there’s no sustaining faith. If knowing Bible stories or how to behave like Christians trumps knowing and loving Jesus, something is out of whack.

A lifetime of faith will only transpire if children see Jesus for who He really is. Children need to witness Christ’s irresistible beauty, outstanding splendour, extraordinary grace, and unplumbed love. This happens when they gain a new consciousness and a new perception by being “born from above” John 3:3 (GW). When children repent and entrust themselves entirely to Jesus, then, and only then, do they receive the spiritual sight to see Jesus.

Children need to witness Christ’s irresistible beauty, outstanding splendour, extraordinary grace, and unplumbed love. Click To Tweet

What does it take for children to genuinely love Jesus to the point of abandoning the totality of their lives to Him? What needs to happen @home and @church to pave the way for children to surrender themselves unreservedly to Christ? At some point in a child’s existence, there must be an unveiling, a revelation, an eye-opening glimpse of Jesus – a recognition that He’s their Lord and Saviour – and in seeing Him, they’re captivated, useless for all else save living for and loving Him for the rest of their life.

What does it take to engage children in a lifetime of faith? Nothing less than Jesus!

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