Jonathan De Beer | 30 August 2021 | 7 min read
As I have written in a previous article, building a strong foundation for the next generation is vital. But how do we practically go about giving our young people a God-centered worldview?
I think there are a few ways we can do this.
Give our Young People a Deep Understanding of Christianity
We need to give our children and young people a deep understanding of Christianity and its truth claims. Part of this is to systematically read through the Bible with our children. This will help them to see how everything fits together.
As we do this systematic reading through the Bible, we can teach them the core doctrines of what we believe. Like the doctrine of the Trinity for example. Or that God “stepped out” of eternity and entered history as the man Jesus Christ to die on a cross and rise again three days later. Do they understand why He did that? Are we teaching them about sin and our continuous rebellion against God, and no matter how much we try we can never get to Him on our own?
Do they understand that Jesus didn’t come to give us good values, but He came to die in our place, taking all the wrong things we have ever done, or ever thought, onto himself, so that the wrath of God could be satisfied? Do they know that grace is a free gift, and that no matter who you are or what you’ve done, you can repent and know that salvation is made available in and through Jesus Christ?
Help our Young People Understand Why we Believe Christianity is True
Once they have established a deep understanding of Christianity, we need to help young people to see why we believe Christianity is true. This means giving them good reasons why Christianity is true. As they grow, they will be confronted with many different worldviews and many of those belief systems directly oppose what Christianity teaches. So, it is vital that we are training and equipping our children to not only have a deep understanding of what Christianity teaches, but also why we believe it to be true.
Make Enough Time for Conversations about Faith
Moses writes the following in Deuteronomy 6:7:
“You shall teach [these laws] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
I think part of what he is saying is that we should make enough time for conversations about faith with our children.
In their research for the book Sticky Faith, Kara Powell and Chap Clark surveyed 11,000 church-going teenagers and asked how many of them talk with their parents about faith. They found that only 12% of kids talk regularly with their mom about faith and 5% with their dads. What a devastating fact!
If we want to give the next generation a strong foundation, we need to be investing in them. Take the time to consistently and continually have meaningful and relevant spiritual conversations. This needs to happen day in and day out, at the dinner table, when driving them to school, when they face different struggles. We need to take every opportunity to talk about the things of God.
Sharing the good news of the gospel, teaching about who God is and what He has done for us, is the most important thing you can give your child. Why is this? Because it is of eternal value. If the claims of Christianity are true, then we have a hope of spending eternity with God.
Giving them a comfortable life, toys to play with, amazing experiences, even a good education, are all fine and well. But at the end of the day all of those things will fade. It is only whether they have truly known Jesus the risen Christ which will count.
Engage With the Questions they have
I was having coffee with someone a little while ago who had just graduated from university. He was brought up in the church but after studying science in high school, he started asking questions about how science fits in with what the Bible teaches. He said that no one in the church wanted to engage with him on this. Eventually he decided that what was being taught in church did not fit with the science he was learning and so he walked away from Christianity.
Children and young people have questions. Working through the questions they have is a great opportunity for cementing what Christianity teaches and why we believe it to be true. When questions come up, especially the more challenging ones, our first reaction may be to dodge them. Resist the urge to give in to that first reaction. It is important to engage with the questions young people have even if you have no idea as to what the answer may be.
Giving young people a God-centered worldview is vital for them as they grow up and are exposed to the world. We want to send our young people out there trained and equipped.
Crain, Natasha. Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 Conversations to Help them Build a Lasting Faith. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 2016.
Crain, Natasha. Talking with your Kids about God. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2017.
Ferer, Hilary Morgan. Mama Bear Apologetics. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 2019.
McDowell, Sean & Wallace, J. Warner. So the Next Generation will Know: Preparing Young Christians for a Challenging World. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2019.
Wallace, J. Warner. Cold Case Christianity for Kids: Investigating Christianity with a Real Detective. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2016.
The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the employees and members of Ratio Christi South Africa.