The ways and values of this world constantly work to pull our children away from real faith in God. But a strong faith legacy can help keep them anchored, protecting them from being swept away by this cultural tide. Our job as parents, grandparents, and spiritual mentors is to foster their love for Jesus and develop their spiritual well-being. Although we cannot believe for them, we can guide them to find God’s plan for their life, and to encourage them to follow it. (Read more about the Scriptural foundation for leaving a faith legacy.)
A Valuable Faith Legacy Must be Intentional
But a faith legacy doesn’t happen by accident. We must be intentional. The following suggestions are some practical ways we can point our children to Jesus. We can’t do all of them all the time. But we can choose a few and with God’s help use them as tools to not only encourage our children’s faith today, but also build a lasting legacy of faith. (Find more stories of faith and even more legacy tips in Kathy’s new devotional book “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith.” or check it out on Amazon.)
5 Ways to Develop Their Relationship with God
- Foster an attitude of gratitude – Develop a family “gratitude prompt” by deciding together what everyday sight or sound will remind you to thank God for His many gifts. Also set a regular time for your family – perhaps dinner time – to recount the Lord’s wondrous works. (Read more about a gratitude prompt.)
- Hide His Word – Memorize Scripture as a family. Choose verses or passages based on your children’s ages. Take advantage of daily moments to practice together, such as car commutes. Keep track of everyone’s progress with charts and stickers. Reward your children’s success with something that motivates them.
- Do spiritual “checkups” – Establish a regular time to talk individually with your children about their relationship with God. Ask them to honestly share their struggles, then think of specific ways you can help or encourage them spiritually. One may need wise counsel for a difficult decision. Another may need help breaking a harmful habit.
- Establish some “spiritual markers” – Memorialize a mighty work of God in your family by connecting the story to a unique physical object. Use this spiritual marker as an opportunity to relate the story to your family and friends. For instance, if God miraculously protected you during an international mission trip, bring home an item from that country.
- Build an unshakeable faith – Tough times can shake our faith. Make a list of biblical truths to keep on hand for the difficult days when you and your family will need them. Include Scriptures about God’s power, sovereignty, love, and concern for all your needs. Also add passages about how God uses trials to grow a Christian’s faith.
5 Ways to Help Them Live Out Their Faith
- Teach them to give – Through word and example, teach your children what the Bible says about giving to the church and people in need. Show them how to set aside, then give, a portion of their allowances, cash gifts, and paychecks.
- Point to God’s purposes – Talk about the gifts and talents God has given them. Include their life experiences, education, and skills. Then help your kids brainstorm how God might want to use all this to honor Jesus and bless others.
- Focus on missions – Find resources that describe mission work in different countries or check with your denomination for information. Regularly pray for specific missionaries’ needs and set aside money to support them. If possible, go on a mission trip as a family.
- Foster servant hearts – As a family, identify some physical needs in your community. Brainstorm ways you could meet one or more of them together. Prayerfully decide where to start, then act. For instance, you might volunteer at a local soup kitchen or food pantry, adopt a needy family for Christmas, or shovel snow for an elderly neighbor.
- Equip for evangelism – Teach your children how to share the Good News of God’s salvation with others. Help them memorize or mark key verses in their Bibles. Guide them to prepare their own salvation story and help them practice.
Which of these 10 practical tips could you implement now? What are some intentional things you do to build a faith legacy for your family?
“Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith” tells stories of the past that will impact our faith today. These 52 heart-felt reflections reveal the seeds of our faith―seeds that sprouted and took root, growing through the centuries to today. Heirloom weaves these stories of faith and family history with Scripture, beautiful artwork, and ancestry research tips and techniques. Through these stories of persevering faith you’ll discover the potential your story has to impact future generations. (See “Heirloom” on Amazon.)