I remember when my kids were super little wondering when would be the “right” time and what would be the “right” way to introduce them to Jesus and the gospel. How young is too young? Do I use stories? Pull out an old flannelgraph? (KIDDING) I mean, they’re pastor’s kids, so they should probably know some things about God and the Bible.
It’s funny now that I was so worried about that. I had no idea what a natural progression it would be. That my kids would learn by watching (sometimes to my dismay and regret). By being authentic with and in front of them, they learn humility and honesty. By extending kindness and second chances (even when their behavior drives me straight to Crazy Town), they learn what grace looks and feels like. When they see me consistently dedicate the first moments of my day to prayer and studying, they learn how to show up and get the most out of their relationship with the Lord. When they see me take time for myself to slow down and relax, they see that God created rest and that it is good. And when I apologize to them for losing self-control or handling a situation wrong, they learn firsthand what vulnerability and forgiveness look like.
We can have all the pretty tools and resources and crafts in the world, but the real teaching happens right in the mess of real everyday life. It happens whether we’re trying or not. If we’re not leading them well, they are learning two contradictory lessons—what we teach and what we do. I’m pretty sure we all want the way we live to reinforce the things we teach about the Bible and God, rather than work against them.
With all that said, I do have a few favorite resources I want to share with you that I use to help make the learning and growing process a little more fun and engaging. These resources help to reinforce the stories of the Bible, the character of God, and what it really means to live in personal relationship with Him.
Raising Prayerful Kids. I love everything these girls put out into the world. They are real and honest about parenting struggles, but also very encouraging when it comes to living the gospel alongside our kids. My favorite of their resources right now is the “Talking with God” journal. It is a fun and interactive prayer guide for kids with added scripture coloring pages. They created two different levels of the journal (one for preschool age and one for older kids) and they’re offering it for FREE right now when you sign up for their newsletter. Such a steal!
2. Night Night Bible Stories by Amy Parker, illustrated by Virginia Allyn. This is the sweetest bedtime book for littles. It features 30 Bible stories told in a narrative style, that are perfect for reading right before bed or anytime. I especially love the interactive rhyming phrases in each story. My kids LOVE to say them with me, and it helps to reinforce what the story is teaching. This author has other adorable faith-based books available on Amazon, as well. I wish I would have discovered her sooner.
3. Praise Music. Ok, this one may seem like a no brainer, but it has been huge for our kids! I can’t even explain to you the feeling it gives me when I hear my kids reciting verses from songs that sing truth about God and their identity in Him (Cue the tears, people!). One of my favorite videos on my phone is of my Paisley girl signing loud and proud from the back seat “I am a child of Goooood! ” Most of the time I don’t even realize they have learned the lyrics until I hear them singing along. Get in the habit of playing Christian music on the radio in the car and watch as your kids start singing out the truth. It’s just the best.
4. Kids Read Truth. (A branch off of She Reads Truth-a women’s ministry site and shop). Ok, this one I haven’t technically used yet, but they have SO many good things that have been on my list for awhile now. The resources are beautiful (like I actually wouldn’t mind having them up around the house) and so intentional in creating bible literate kiddos. Some of my favorite items from their shop: ABC Bible Wall Cards , Advent Scripture Cards & People in the Bible Conversation Cards . They also have some great bible studies for older kids.
5. Pray with them. Pray with them as a family at the dinner table. Pray with them before bed. Pray with them with they feel scared or when they are upset. Just pray. I understand this isn’t a material resource, but it’s the biggest “resource” we have of all. If we show our kids that prayer is important and powerful, it will become their first response in moments of crisis. What better gift can we give them?
I hope you’ve enjoyed these few ideas and resources! I would LOVE to hear about what you’re using with your kids to help them know Jesus! If your kids are grown, I’d love to hear what you found most effective when they were little! Drop it below in the comments!