This is not just for parents so please read on but I’ve been mulling over some of the things Sam Evans talked about in his preach on parenting the other week. It was so helpful to think about how we can help our children connect with God and to show them our own relationship with God. Sam recommended 3 techniques to help us to do this (based on Rachel Turner’s book, Parenting Children for a life of faith):
- Create windows
Rachel Turner (children’s pastor based in Harrogate) says that if we just show children religious behaviour but don’t show them relationship then they’ll never grasp that Christianity is about a living relationship with Jesus. Showing our children how we connect with God will have so much more impact than just telling them about relationship with God. We can give them little windows into our walk with God allowing them to see our connection with him throughout the day.
Explaining different aspects of the Christian life (especially the mysterious ones like communion or spiritual gifts) can really help children to understand how our relationship with Jesus is expressed in different ways. We can help by explaining the connection we are experiencing (e.g. encountering God’s love), not just the action (tears).
Involving our children in the ups and downs of life can also help them see what an authentic walk with Jesus is like. When we are upset, angry, facing illness etc we can allow them into our experience of God through it all.
Sam’s talk reminded me that it’s not just my teaching about Jesus that will encourage my children on their journey of faith, but them actually seeing my journey with God first hand. It got me thinking. How am I actually connecting with God right now? How do I spend time with Him? How do I make space to look Heavenwards in the busyness of life? Let me ask you the same question… how are you connecting with God right now? At home with family, at work, on campus, inside and outside Church gatherings; how do you engage with Jesus and allow him into your life? Where do you find those few minutes in the day to look to Him, worship him and listen to him? For me it’s through song or music when I find it easiest to connect with Him, for others it’s being outside in nature, through art, dance, studying God’s word, prayer, silence, meditation and the list goes on and on. We all connect with him in different ways but have you found your way? How do you like to hang out with Jesus?
We can create windows for our children but we can also create them for our friends and family that don’t know Him yet too. Allowing them to see our relationship with Jesus will often have more impact on them than mere words or ‘religious behaviour’. My work colleagues see my ‘religious behaviour’ (I go to Church, give money away etc) but what seems to have impacted them most was how I leant on God during a challenging time in my life. Being open with them about how God was helping me through that situation at the time still brings up conversations in the office about my faith now!
Let me encourage us to continue to keep connecting with God, to seek His face and to keep creating those windows for others to see our life in Him. It might just help them on their journey to faith too.
By Pippa Lloyd