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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

10 Ways Parents Can Help Kids Share Their Faith

By Michelle LaRowe
Oct. 10, 2010

When it comes to sharing our faith, it’s no surprise that for most people it can be a bit nerve-racking. Even as the apostle Paul entered Corinth to share the gospel, he admits that he did so in “fear, and with much trembling” (1 Corinthians 2:3, NIV).

Fear has nothing to do with a lack of spirituality or our commitment to Christ. It has to do with our being human beings who are affected by our life experiences and our emotions. As adults we can be afraid to share our faith because we don’t know what to say or because we’re afraid of being rejected.

The good news is that children often don’t have these same fears! In fact, many children haven’t yet discovered that sharing the gospel can be uncomfortable. As parents, we can empower our children to share their faith by making our personal testimony part of our normal, everyday routine. We can raise children to embrace the Great Commission.

Encourage your children to share their faith in these 10 ways.

1. Be a faith-sharing role model. How does a child learn to hold the door open for the person behind them? By seeing you do it again and again. It’s the same with sharing our faith. Children live what they learn, and they learn by repetition. When your children see and hear you sharing Christ’s love with others regularly and consistently, they’ll naturally do the same.

2. Prepare your children to share their faith. As your children learn what their faith means to them and how their friends can share in their Christian faith, they are better able to communicate their beliefs with others. Teach the ABCs of salvation:

A — Admit you are a sinner (Romans 3:10,23) and ask for forgiveness (Romans 10:13; Acts 3:19).
B — Believe in Jesus (John 14:6) and become a child of God by receiving Christ (John 1:12).
C — Confess that Jesus is your Lord (Romans 10:9,10).

As your children grow in the Lord, provide opportunities for them to practice telling you their personal testimonies — who Jesus is to them and what He’s done in their lives, how He’s changed their lives.

3. Pray for your children to be faith-sharers. Ask God to help your children have the right words and to share the gospel message simply, boldly and fearlessly (Ephesians 6:19).

4. Give your children regular opportunities to share their faith. Children naturally feel more confident about doing something the more they do it. We all do! Over dinner or during your nightly devotionals, make a point to provide faith-sharing opportunities. Take turns talking about the opportunities you had to share your faith with someone that day or about something great God has done in your life. Talk about how it feels to share your faith and how we can recognize the opportunities God gives us to be witnesses of His love and mercy.

5. Participate in outreach ministries as a family. Things always seem easier when you’re doing them together. Make a point to take part in the outreach ministries your church sponsors. Doing so will allow your children to experience being part of a community of believers who are sharing their faith together in a tangible way. If your church doesn’t have an outreach ministry, talk to your pastor about starting one.

6. Put your family’s faith into action. Children learn by doing. Serve soup at a soup kitchen. Donate gently used toys to a women’s shelter. Sponsor a child. Take a card to a sick friend. Take out the trash for an elderly neighbor. Do something to brighten someone’s day. As a family, make putting your faith into action a priority. When you do, your children will see the importance of sharing the love of Christ, helping those in need and having compassion toward others.

7. Encourage Saturday night sleepovers. When Andrew realized Jesus was the Messiah, he went and brought his brother Simon to meet Christ (John 1:41,42). One of the best ways to provide an opportunity for your children to invite a friend to church is to host the best Saturday night sleepovers, followed by church Sunday morning. When your house rule is that everyone goes to church on Sunday, it’s less awkward for your child to extend the invitation. Making your home the hangout where kids want to be can help other children associate good hospitality, kindness and gentleness with the foundations of a faith-filled family.

8. Encourage your children to use their talents for God’s glory. Perhaps your child plays a sport or a musical instrument. Do they know they can use their talents as a means of sharing their faith? By simply showing good sportsmanship and having Christlike behavior during practices and games, your child is showing others the character of Christ. If your children play instruments, encourage them to be part of the worship team or to participate in the children’s choir.

9. Teach children to respond to situations in prayer. One of the most effective ways your children can share their faith is by having an active prayer life. Teach your children to respond to every situation with prayer. Prayer is usually more effective than any piece of advice we can give. Is your child’s friend scared because his mom is sick? Encourage your child to call his friend or to pray with him face-to-face that he won’t be scared and for his mom to be well. Encourage your children to always have the phrase, “Can I pray with you?” at the tip of their tongue. Teach them that when they don’t know how to respond to a situation, they can always pray.

10. Teach your children to pray for unbelieving friends and for opportunities to share their faith with them. There’s hardly a confidence booster more effective than praying for opportunities to share your faith with friends and seeing those opportunities come to pass. Encourage your children to make praying for their unbelieving friends part of their daily prayers. Ask each child to make a list of their unbelieving friends and to tuck the list away inside of their Bible. Doing so will serve as a reminder to pray and as a reminder to praise when a friend comes to know the Lord.

Faith-sharing parents raise faith-sharing kids. Actively share your faith with your children and celebrate every attempt your children make to communicate the good news. You will play a vital role in effectively empowering them to share their faith with the world throughout life.

MICHELLE LaROWE is the author of the parenting series Nanny to the Rescue! and is the 2004 International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year. She attends Faith Assembly of God in Hyannis, Mass.

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