Help Parents Teach What They Believe
by David Helm
How can you involve parents in passing on to their children what the Christian faith teaches?
It is a wonderful privilege to watch children start to grasp the precious truths of Scripture. But while parents may hope to develop this through a family devotion time, we are all too frequently overwhelmed and exhausted by the difficulties involved in scheduling this on a daily basis.
Parents need help!
That’s why our church developed Big Beliefs! We needed a way to enable parents to teach their children, at home, the truths we taught at church. Children would then see that their parents are the ones to teach them eternal truths rather than leaving the task only to “church professionals.” Thus, in our minds, it became important to make a devotional that was expressly intended to enable parents to succeed—and their children to grow in grace and knowledge.
Family life in America can be chaotic—families aren’t always together at set times—so we knew that having a daily devotional schedule was more likely to end up with families feeling guilty for what they hadn’t done, rather than successful for what they had. Our solution? We settled on three weekly readings, to allow for some flexibility in different family situations.
It’s important that we establish from the get-go that the Bible is our source of authority for what the church teaches. Each devotional reading is accompanied by suggested Scripture passages that introduce and simply explain thirty-three key theological concepts found in the Westminster Confession of Faith. We chose the Westminster Confession of Faith because it is one of the most comprehensive summaries of Christian belief available (we also included the confession in modern English as an appendix at the back of the book).
So, once we had established the scope of the project and the method for achieving it, how could we make sure that parents felt good about the process and that their children learned some spiritual truths? To help make that happen, we included interaction and reflection questions to follow each reading—each one starting a conversation about what was learned that day.
Great, we thought! Now we have something that would genuinely help parents. As you know, though, there’s often a big difference between what we think should happen and what actually happens! So next we extensively field-tested the content at our church.
We got brilliant feedback—so much so that we had the confidence to pitch the idea to publishers as a project for a wider audience. What that means is that we are now able to bring to parents a nonthreatening, encouraging devotional that will serve as a comprehensive beginning to a child’s understanding of Christianity’s big beliefs—and will take a load off parents’ minds regarding how to do that.
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