January 30, 2014

leading children to Jesus

I wrote this for another blog I've been writing for, and wanted to share it here also. :)

I grew up not knowing who Jesus was.
In my home, “Jesus Christ” was a term for when you were upset or angry. It was a step down from swearing, but gave the same message.
In my home, there was frequent mention of God. Not in a reverent, prayerful, calling out to Jesus kind of way. “Oh my God,” was something we said about everything. I never even thought about what it meant until I met God for the first time.
I was still a child at 18. Immature, lost, and fully in the world in every way an 18-year old could be. I looked to fill the hole in my heart with alcohol, sex, and worldly experiences. It was then, when the world would have said I was the most lost, that I was found.
Jesus picked me up gently out of the mess I called my life and set me down on the Rock.
Today, I am a Christian missionary serving in South America with my husband and two children. I strive daily to give my son and daughter opportunities to know Jesus. Having no idea what that really looks like in childhood, I can assure you we’re a work in progress. And that’s OK.
If you, like me, didn’t grow up in a Christian family and lack an example, or if you just need some ideas on how you can help your child cultivate their own relationship with Jesus, here are seven ideas for you. Every family is different. Whether you’re able to use one idea or all seven, remember to do what works for you and don’t be afraid to try new things.

7 Ways to Lead Your Child to Jesus:

Be their example. Model behavior you want to see in them. Easy enough, right? Try your hardest, get what resources you need, and pray, pray, pray. Chose your battles wisely. It’s not always important to be right, it’s important to be like Jesus. Involve the whole family by having morning – and if possible, evening – worship. It’s OK to keep it simple, especially if you have young children.
Need ideas for family worship?
My Bible First
Kids of Integrity
Encourage personal devotion time everyday. Make sure they have their own age appropriate Bible. Until they can read on their own, try to read to them from their Bible once or twice a day. Teach them to have Jesus time. Make it special by sitting in a special chair, make a Jesus time spot, or try to incorporate something meaningful to them. Once they can read, let them. And talk to them about what they read as often as you’re able to. If they are old enough, encourage them to journal about what they read, what it means to them, and what they think Jesus might be saying to them through His Word. Try to have Jesus time routinely and consistently as best you can.
Need ideas on what kids can do on their own?
Beginner’s Bible
Sabbath Kids
Be on the lookout for object lessons. Look for ways to make Jesus real and relevant to them. Pray for Jesus to show you object lessons. Read Christ’s Object Lessons for ideas of where to look for Jesus around you. Let these lessons come up in conversation naturally. Let your child make the connections to Jesus through your gentle leading.
Need more ideas?
Print out this list of things to on Sabbath
Get Christ’s Object Lessons here or get it free on your Android or iPhone
Reach out. Teach your child that Jesus is at work all around them. Take them on mission trips. Feed the homeless. Serve at the soup kitchen. Let them see the hard things in life and let them ask questions. Let them see the results of sin, and the triumphs of Jesus.
Need more ideas?
Google opportunities in your area
Get real. Be real and honest with your child in all areas of life. Of course this will look different for different ages, but let your child see that you struggle too. That you need forgiveness too. Share your testimony with them. Ask them for pray for you in certain areas. Don’t hide your problems – don’t burden your child by just telling them all your problems and not offering more – teach them that our struggles are our offerings to Jesus.
Keep track of Jesus. Write down prayer requests and leave room to write down the answers as they are given. Make this part of your family worship. Teach them both to rely on God for their needs, and to be reminded when He does. This is a great way to help your child through a tough situation, “Remember that time when we prayed about ___ and Jesus answered by ___?”
Need more ideas?
See how to make a prayer journal here
Pray, pray, pray. Don’t stop praying. Jesus is with you, Mama. Stay connected to Him. If you do your part, He’ll do His. Keep in mind that you can’t make the decision for your children to live for Jesus or not. They will have to do that one on their own. And even if they chose another path, keep hope, Mama. Pray all the more. It’s not over till it’s over.

What are things your family does to help your children cultivate a relationship with Jesus?


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