Making faith their own

Making faith their own

By |2018-03-02T16:41:28+00:00March 7th, 2013|

I had the privilege of teaching today at our church’s Moms of Teens class. We talked about how kids transition from the beliefs they’re given as children to forming their own personal convictions.

The news most moms of teens don’t want to hear is that the way to get to those convictions is to question and doubt all you’ve been raised with. In fact, you often temporarily reject or at least scrutinize those beliefs. If you don’t, you probably will have a very superficial faith–one that won’t stand up in times of hardship down the road.

You want your children to know and love God–but that season of questioning and doubt can be hard. But if we trust that God loves us and our kids, we have to trust that he’ll guide them through that season.

One mom emailed in a question about her young teens that I wanted to address here since we didn’t talk about it in class.

She wrote: “My 13 and 14 year old girls are Christians and have been recently baptized. If they could get in the habit of reading scripture on a daily basis, that could be such a huge anchor to keep them grounded in the Lord, as they will grow more and more independent (& at college too). What’s the best way to encourage that? (I do try to read daily, as well.)”

teen-girl-reads-the-bible-590x295This mom definitely realizes an important truth, which we talked about at class today: you can’t give away what you don’t have. If you’re not reading the Bible, don’t expect your kids to learn that habit.

Daily Scripture reading is a great practice that will indeed strengthen our faith and help us to know God better. But getting kids (or adults, for that matter!) to do it is not easy.

However, technology is on your side in this one. There are lots of free aps for smartphones that have the Bible so that they can read the Bible on their phone. They can also find aps that have short devotionals or even comic book versions of Bible stories.

Another great tool is the website. You can sign up for texts, emails or pre-recorded calls at a specific time of day. Each gives you a daily verse, along with a short devotional. I had this on my phone for a while, and it was great fun interrupting conversations when my phone rang–“excuse me, I need to take this call–it’s God.” The calls offered a short devotional, the texts usually just gave you a verse–but it’s an easy way to get a bit of Scripture into your day.

Another great idea–not high tech at all–is to read together. I know it was hard for us to sit down for family devotions, but if you make it part of your family dinner time (I know that’s a big assumption–that you have family meals–but maybe that’s the place to start!) it can be a time when you at least let them hear some wisdom from God’s word.

Read a short devotional at the dinner table, or just a Psalm. The Message or New Living versions are easy to understand, and just reading a verse or two can be a great starting point for conversations about faith. The key to this is to keep it short and sweet, and ask kids what they think, rather than lecturing them.

What do you think? How do you get your kids to read the Bible?




  1. Tim March 8, 2013 at 12:03 am - Reply

    Letting the kids doubt and trusting God to see them through it was one of my major parenting tools, Keri.

    And you’re right about them following what they see parents do. At least that’s how it played out in our family. They saw us doing stuff like leading Bible study or playin worship music, helping out with youth and children’s ministries, and now they are each involved in some of the same things. Plus they’ve taken on ministry opportunities that my wife and I never tried ourselves.

    One fun thing particular to Scripture is that they now come to us with observations and questions about passages. They have each opened my eyes to new ways of understanding God’s word.


    • keri March 8, 2013 at 1:37 am - Reply

      Trusting God is really hard for some parents. Which is somewhat ironic because what they want their kids to do is trust God. As I told the moms in this class–you can’t give away what you don’t have! Great thoughts. And each kid has to make their faith their own–even if we model stuff they might choose to live out their faith differently–that’s ok.

  2. Kathleen March 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    I’ve been thinking on this topic since I read it a few days ago. As a mom of 3 teenage boys and 2 adult girls, I know the desire to have your teens be in His Word, to know Him more, and to walk according to His will. My daughter brought to light an important point when she was telling me about her middle school math students. “You can’t just tell them to do it, you have to tell them why and show them how it relates to their lives.” I thought about that in relation to reading His word. We can’t make our teens do anything at this point, and we certainly don’t want to just focus on outward behavior; but on the heart. Long story long, let me encourage your moms to get into the word themselves. Be available to talk to your teens. Use opportunities to share God’s perspective in contrast to the world’s perspective. Share when His word comforts, encourages, strengthens, enlightens you…. Ask if they will hold you accountable to memorize His word; if they will listen while you recite. Ask if they will memorize with you and let them pick out the passage.
    And of course, above all pray for your kids. 🙂
    Sorry this is so long! That’s what 2 days of thinking gets me 🙂

  3. keri March 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    Kathleen, that’s so true! So often those teachable moments come unexpectedly. But I love your strategies for sharing the word with your kids. Great ideas. Thanks for your thoughtful response!

  4. […] That’s the end to keep in mind. If independence is the goal, we should celebrate it. So all along, I’ve applauded even their stubbornness (while not allowing them to be disrespectful). I’ve cheered from the sidelines when they tried things I’d never done. I encouraged them to question, wonder, doubt. Because if what you want is a child who has a strong faith, they have to go through a time of questioning and making that faith their own.  […]

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