Deeply-rooted faith can be difficult to plant, grow, and nurture in children, but the results are well worth the work. Jesus explained the importance of growing in faith when He told a large crowd of people a parable about a farmer planting seeds. Listen to what Jesus said:
“As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Matthew 13:4–9, NIV
Hearing about God for the first time is very exciting! Learning about the stories told in His Word can be very engaging. The music and community that comes with attending church can also be quite enticing. However, in order to grow deep in faith, it is necessary to develop a relationship with God. One must also understand the sacrifice Jesus made and believe in the redemption it offers.
In the parable of the farmer, we hear that the initial excitement surrounding our faith and faith community are not enough by themselves to help young Christians grow deep roots. Instead, we need to guide children to fully understand who God is and what Jesus did for them. We must engage them in God’s Word and keep them active in a community of Christians so that they may grow in faith. So, what can you do to help children grow in faith?
1) Make them part of the church community.
Does your church have roles children can fill? For example, many churches ask young people to collect the offering or light the candles at the front of the church. This helps children to see the importance of each individual in the body of Christ.
2) Teach them well.
Even very young children can begin to understand Christian concepts when they are taught in engaging ways. A two-year-old may learn a song about Jesus and sing the chorus throughout the week. A five-year-old may sit in church with her parents and learn that we can communicate with God through prayer. She may go home and ask to pray at mealtime or before going to sleep.
3) Talk about faith.
Start a conversation with your child about what it means to believe in God and to believe Jesus came to take away our sins. Talk about God’s love and His goodness. Talk about how people sin, but Jesus makes it possible for us to be forgiven. Do not be afraid of questions. God gives us many answers in His Word.