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.
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?
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.html
So 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!
Blue print passages are excerpts from “3 Crazy Myths People Believe about Family Devotions” by Aaron Apodaca, writer, Ministry Spark.
Hello parents of FellowshipKids!
We wanted to take a minute and let you know as a staff we are praying for you and your family during this uncertain time. Understandably, now that your children are home and daily doing remote schooling, you have LOTS of time together! Praise God! He has given you time as a family to slow down and do life together in a whole new way.
That being said, you may be asking, “What can I do to encourage my children? How can I speak truth, love, and peace into their lives? How can we find things to do when we can’t go to the park or have play dates with friends?”
Here are some suggestions… you may have already thought of many more. Maybe in the next week we can set up a way for you to share those ideas with our FCC church family. For now, check these out:
Go on Right Now Media – this website is accessible for FCC’s church family. It is loaded with Christ-centered kids shows, Bible stories, and worship music categorized by age-level for easy searching. Your kids can listen or watch on your smartphone, tablet or computer! (There is plenty of content for adults on Right Now Media too!)
Check YouTube for great worship videos – we use some of these for 2nd-5th graders on Sunday mornings. Check out Hillsong Kids Worship or Bethel Kids music to get you started!
*FellowshipKids on Pintrest – ideas for crafts and fun art projects -- click this link to take you there: https://www.pinterest.com/fellowshipcommunitychurch/fellowship-kids/
God’s word speaks volumes to us about handling fear. As a church we are looking to replace fear with the awe of God. By focusing on WHO God is, we are able to calmly remember that He is in control. Our kids desperately need to know and be reminded of this daily. Encourage them to get out their Bibles and read. Better yet – read together as a family in the morning or at dinner! Thoughtfully answer their questions in age-appropriate ways. Here are some Scriptures to help you:
Psalm 91:1 – He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’
Psalm 56:3,4 – When I am afraid I will trust in you. In God whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. For young children, this video song will help them remember this Scripture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbAkKDBQoG8
Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave or forsake you.
And this prayer from Isaiah 33:2 – O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.
One more link – this is the blog of a woman I follow – Emily Freeman. She wrote this blog in early March, just before the pandemic began to sweep the world. It isn’t even about the coronavirus, but it beautifully addresses the issue of how to listen (REALLY listen) to your middle or high schooler’s fears. Worth the 10 minute read! https://emilypfreeman.com/children-decisions/
As we weather this storm together, may God keep you and your family in His strong and loving arms. We hope to be worshipping and learning together in FellowshipKids again soon!
on behalf FellowshipKids leaders,
Fellowship Community Church
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