You really expect me to teach my kids about God?
It’s another Monday morning at home. You pour the coffee into your mug and sneak away into the far corner of the house to just wake up. You hear pitter patter of feet on the stairs and then the small voice, “Daddy?” You remain silent. Again… “Daddy? Where are you?” Maybe this small person who you love so dearly can just wait a few more minutes. Then louder. “DAD! Are you down here?”
You can’t resist as the face appears around the corner from the kitchen. “I’m in here” you answer quietly.
Kids have a way of finding us when we most want NOT to be found. Especially in the morning. But what if you turn that interruption into a moment of devotion? What if the Bible story book was right on the floor near your chair and you pick it up in that quiet morning moment and read to that special child now tucked in on your lap? You’ve just done family devotions.
So, what first came to mind when you read those 2 words: family devotions? Reluctance or intrigue? Frustration or encouragement? Guilt or joy? Maybe even fear! Aaron Apodaca of Ministry Spark writes this about devotions:If you’re like most busy Christian dads and moms today, the thought of personal devotions is challenging but less intimidating than family devotions. Many parents feel they should have a consistent time of strengthening their family spiritually, of bringing the Bible into their everyday family life, but often they just don’t know where to begin or how to continue with it.
*Am I supposed to preach or teach the Bible at home?
*What if I’m uncomfortable praying out loud?
*How can we keep family devos from becoming boring?
Often the biggest roadblocks in the way of a parent initiating a meaningful devotional time at home is what he or she assumes about this practice. Apodaca points out 3 common misconceptions or myths about family devotions that can keep us from even trying.
Myth 1: Family devotions have to be led just like a church service. Says who? Those notions are more traditional than they are biblical. Jesus certainly was not bound by any rigid structures or order of worship. He incorporated an array of diverse object lessons and teaching tools to inspire and equip the Twelve as he trained them. Jesus generally preferred a parable to a podium, a conversation to a lecture, and a short story to a full sermon. And He used questions, lots of questions—15 in the Sermon on the Mount alone. Parents can do the same.
Myth 2: Dad must always lead the devotional time. After all, isn’t that the only way to be a “spiritual leader” in your home? Not necessarily. Perhaps more important is a dad who makes sure every week that a devotional time takes place and that it is led—whether by him or his wife. There may be weeks in which a husband or wife is simply overloaded at work. In those instances, we urge husbands and wives to ask your spouse to lead the family devotions. In many cases, you may choose to rotate weeks as a couple to share that responsibility. You can also involve your older kids as leaders once in awhile!
Myth 3: Everybody has to sit still and be quiet for family devotions to be really effective. Still and quiet are not synonymous with toddlers or teenagers! Toddlers, for example, not only want to engage everyone around them conversationally, but they also want to touch and experience life in its many forms. The best learning experiences for children happen when they are not only inspired to consider truth cognitively but also challenged to demonstrate and experience it physically.So how can you do family devotions with a 2-year old or with many children with a wide age span?
Engage each child according to their age. A two-year old can’t sit still, so read a story book Bible at night or in the early morning when they are most quiet. Or, let them stand up and move around while you read. Let them turn the book’s pages!
You don’t have to sit at the kitchen table… but if you do, allow drawing or doodling while you read. Ask questions. Lots of questions. And vary them according to what your kids can understand from the Bible passage you are reading. Use props.
Act out the story. Kids love to dress up – assign parts and give your kids lines to speak.
Choose simple story passages at first. Read through Jesus’ miracles or parables. Add harder passages for older kids only. You don’t have to cover everything!
Deuteronomy 6: 7-8 paraphrased communicates this message: God’s word is vital for life. Share the Word with your children. Talk about who God is while you’re eating dinner or out in the yard while you’re having a catch. Pray and talk at night before bed or around the breakfast table. Draw, write, create. Remember God daily and do this together as a family – at least once a week.
Our FellowshipKids teachers and staff have loved teaching your kids about God. But now we just can’t be that Bible teacher for your kids every Sunday morning. So… how about forming a new habit and embrace the privilege of sharing God’s word with your children yourself?
Don’t worry. We won’t leave you stranded wondering HOW and WITH WHAT? We actually have lots of good info and tools posted on our kids’ website page for you to use weekly. https://www.fellowshipsj.org/fellowship-kids-activities.htmlSo gather the family around – any time over the weekend – and learn about God together! Use the videos we provide, along with the questions and activities and memory verses and coloring pages….. use only what works for your family! There are materials for all age groups! Most of all, ask God to lead you. When my husband and I were raising our four young children at home, we claimed this verse as our own from Isaiah 40:11: He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.And He will gently lead you too!Lisa MeyersDirector, FellowshipKids
Blue print passages are excerpts from “3 Crazy Myths People Believe about Family Devotions” by Aaron Apodaca, writer, Ministry Spark.