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5 Ways to Help Your Kids Keep the Faith

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This content was created by our Core Christianity staff.

Faith is something sinners receive from God; it is not something we offer God. Faith is resting in Christ for salvation; it is not a work we do to earn a place in Heaven. The apostle Paul says, “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is not something we merit or a result of something we do; it is something we accept as a gift from God. Jesus takes our sins from us, dies for them, and gives us his perfect righteousness in return.

On the basis of that righteousness God accepts us as his children and promises the inheritance of eternal life. By simply believing that Christ died for our sins and rose from the grave, this marvelous trade of our sin for Christ’s righteousness is ours! Every Christian parent prays that their child will also believe. Christian parents hope that their child will have a true faith in Christ, but is there anything more a parent can actually do, if faith is a gift from God? Is there anything parents can do to give their children a faith that lasts? Does anything we do as parents matter for our children’s salvation?

It is true that faith comes from God alone as a free gift, but it is also true that God uses means. Parents are a primary vessel God uses to give faith. Consider what Paul said to Timothy: “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (2 Timothy 1:5). Timothy’s “sincere faith” was passed down to him from his grandmother and mother. You see, God created the family and God uses the family as one way to expand and build his kingdom. Peter said that the gospel promise of salvation is “for you and for your children” (Acts 2:29, emphasis added).

Parents are to share the gospel with their kids. As a parent you have the privilege and responsibility to “train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). You are to teach your kids what to believe and how to live in a way that honors God, but, you may ask, how is this done? This article will offer
several practical, down-to-earth ways to give your child a lasting faith. These ways can also be found in the Bible, and research and survey data show these are practices that lead to a lasting faith.

Bible Reading

According to a recent study conducted by LifeWay Research, regularly reading the Bible while growing up was the biggest indicator that a child would remain a faithful Christian as an adult. Paul tells us that “All scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The authors of the Bible wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Our creator revealed himself in the pages of Scripture in order that we may know him. What we should believe and how we ought to live is clearly explained for us. It is no wonder that Bible reading is the greatest indicator of a child that will persevere in the faith. To make the connection between Bible reading and lasting faith even stronger, consider that God calls sinners to himself through the words of the Bible. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Jesus is the good shepherd who calls his sheep to him. He calls sinners out of darkness and death and into light and life eternal. Jesus is the eternally begotten Son, the incarnate Word of God, and through him alone sinners can come to the Father. Through the word and by the word the Spirit of Christ draws sinners to repentance and faith. The prophet Isaiah explains this with a beautiful metaphor:

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
(Isaiah 55:10-11)

Just as rain and snow do not fall on the earth without causing wheat to grow and grain to be produced, so also the word of God is not read or proclaimed without reaping a spiritual harvest.

It is important to understand theologically why Bible reading is such an important practice, but it is equally important to think about the practical question, “How do we raise children who regularly read the Bible?” One key way to do this is to model regular Bible reading. Children learn by example, especially at a young age they look up to and mimic their parents. If Bible reading is not a regular and consistent part of your life, it is unlikely that your child will pick it up as their own habit. However, you cannot expect a child to start reading their Bible regularly just because they see you doing it; you need to teach them how to read the Bible. This can be done in simple ways when they are young and with increasing depth as they grow and mature.

To teach your child to read the Bible, the simplest yet most important thing you can do is read it aloud to them. Reading aloud trains children to sit and focus, to think about what is being said. It begins to give them the skills needed to read on their own. When you read the Bible to your child, ask them questions about the passage and let them ask you their questions. It is important to talk about the verses and what they mean. In doing so you teach your child the skills to analyze and interpret the Bible on their own.


Regular Church Attendance

Teaching your children to read the Bible is one great way to help them to develop a personal relationship with Christ. A faith that lasts, however, needs to be lived out and applied by attending church regularly. Christ does not call sinners into a secret and private relationship with him; he calls them into his church. Paul compares the church to a building that God is assembling, with “Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:20-21). This temple created by God is invisible. All those with true saving faith in Christ are part of it. Just taking your kids to church doesn’t save them, but it does allow them to be a part of the visible church. As part of the visible church, your kids will experience God’s ordinary means of grace. Though God can work in our hearts and lives in a myriad of ways, the Bible teaches that there are some regular ways that God calls sinners to repentance and sanctifies saints: the word preached and the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

We have seen already that God’s Word is powerful. The Spirit of God works through the Word of God when people read it, but especially when it is preached. This is seen through many examples in the pages of Scripture (Nehemiah 8:8-9; Acts 2:14-47, 20:32). God chose to use the preaching of the gospel as the way he redeems sinners (Romans 10:14-17). Consider what Paul says: “it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:21-24). If you want your kids to have a faith that lasts, you need to bring them to hear the gospel preached and pray that the Spirit gives them ears to hear and a heart that responds in repentance and faith.

The Bible also establishes Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as ordinary means of grace. The church does these two things first and foremost because Jesus said to (Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 10:23-26). Jesus gave the church these sacraments as ways that the gospel message could be preached to our senses. When accompanied by God’s Word, Baptism teaches us that if we have faith in Christ, our sins are atoned for and we are cleansed of our guilt. In fact, Paul says we are baptized into Jesus’ death. When the water washes over a sinner, it is a sign of the spiritual reality that they are buried with Christ. (Romans 6:3) As the sinner comes out of the water, it is a sign of spiritual cleansing, but even more than that, a sign of spiritual resurrection (Romans 6:4)!

When Christian parents baptize their child, it doesn’t automatically save or magically transfer faith; however, it does make that child a part of the visible covenant community of the church. As part of that community, we can trust and pray that God will work in their hearts to bring them to faith. In a similar way the Lord’s Supper is a sign of spiritual realities. The bread is a sign of Christ’s body, broken for us. The wine is a sign of Christ’s blood, shed for the forgiveness of sins. When you take communion, explain this to your kids. When they profess faith, talk with your pastor and elders to decide if they should take communion with you.

Singing Christian Songs & Catechesis

The same study by LifeWay Research found that listening to Christian music increased the chances that a child would be a faithful Christian as an adult; but listening to primarily secular or popular music decreased that likelihood. This highlights the importance of teaching our kids to love music that is good, beautiful, and true. Music is a good gift from God, one of his most incredible creations. Wisdom and discernment is necessary in choosing what we listen to and what we allow our children to listen to. When a message is delivered through a song, it can impact us emotionally in ways a lecture might not. When a message is delivered in a song it tends to stick with us. After all, who hasn’t had an awful song stuck in their head and been unable to get it out? This is why we must expose our kids to music that honors God and uplifts one another. For Christians, there is more at stake when it comes to music. Christians are called by God to worship him through singing themselves (for just a few examples of this exhortation see Psalm 100:2, 101:1, and 108:1). To give our kids a faith that lasts we must teach them not only what kind of music is beneficial to listen to, but how to sing.

Singing is an integral part of the Christian life because it is one of the primary ways God calls us to worship him. Ephesians 5:18-19 calls Christians to “be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all our heart.” Singing is a way to express our adoration at God’s greatness, our gratitude for his grace, and our wonder at his blessings. We make melodies to the Lord, but notice, Paul says that Christians are also to address one another with songs. When we sing in church, we are singing to one another as well as to God. Singing in church is not a private moment between you and God; it is corporate worship, a mutual profession of faith, and a method of encouraging fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

The songs Paul has in mind when he says “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” are what we know as the Psalms. Paul is calling Christians to encourage and exhort each other with the divinely inspired Psalter, what we might call “God’s songbook.” In another of his letters Paul describes the function of Christian singing this way, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). Singing is an integral part of the Christian life because it is one of the primary ways believers teach and correct one another. This being the case, it should be clear that one of the best, God-given methods for raising our kids to have a lasting faith is through music.

Songs are a great way to teach your kids the truth of the Bible. In addition, the practice of catechesis serves a similar purpose. A catechism is a series of questions and answers, usually written in such a ways as to be easily memorized, that teach the truths of the Christian faith. In addition to teaching our kids Scripture and helping them memorize God’s word through song, we can teach them theology with catechisms. Some catechisms are even put to music (see the references below)! A good catechism will, in an age appropriate way, instruct your child in the basics of the faith. They will learn orthodox doctrine, which is of course, a fundamental need if your child is to know not just what you want them to believe, but why they believe themselves.


In the Lifeway survey, the second highest indicator of a faith that lasts is prayer. Prayer is a mark of a real and intimate relationship with God, just as the frequency with which we talk to a friend indicates how close we are to them. The more a person talks to God in prayer, the more vibrant their relationship with him will be. It is important to let our kids see and hear us pray, to encourage them to pray, and to teach them how to pray. Teaching kids how to pray helps them develop a real and vibrant relationship with the Lord.

Thankfully we are not left in the dark when it comes to knowing how to pray or how to teach our kids to pray. Jesus said, “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’” (Matthew 6:9-13). There is not enough space here to do a full analysis of this prayer, but we can highlight a few key points:

  • God is addressed as Father. Christians have a unique relationship with God through Christ. If we believe in Christ, “you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Romans 8:15). We should teach our children that God is a good Father who loves them, cares for them, and sent his only son Christ to die for them.
  • We praise and adore God through prayer. “Hallowed” is not a word commonly used today. It means to treat as holy. So “hallowed be thy name” is a prayer that God would be honored and glorified above all else.
  • Prayer involves a posture of submission. When we pray we acknowledge God as sovereign ruler of all. It is his will and desire, not ours, that is supreme.
  • God is the source of all good things. He is the creator of everything we need in life, so we should ask him for it. Jesus said that if earthly Fathers take care of their children’s needs, “how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11).
  • We must come before God with humility and contrition because we are sinful. We daily defy God and his design for our lives, therefore we must confess our sin against him and others. Also, Jesus teaches us that it is important that we forgive others who have harmed us; if we can’t do that then God won’t forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15).
  • We pray that God would keep us from sin because we are weak and can only grow in holiness with his help. When Jesus teaches to pray that God would not lead us into temptation, he is not claiming that God tries to get us to sin, but that God alone has the power to turn our sinful hearts to him (James 1:13-18).

This is a starting point for teaching your kids how to pray. Helping your child to develop a vibrant prayer life is a wonderful way to give them a faith that lasts.


After prayer, the third highest indicator that pointed to lasting faith in the LifeWay survey was service. A little further down the list was participation in mission trips and projects. What this indicates is that children who put their faith into practice are more likely to have a faith that lasts. Paul teaches that believers are “[God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). God works in and through Christians by giving us acts of service. Through these pre-prepared good works, God molds and sculpts us into the image of Christ. When we serve we are “walking in” these good works. This is a mark of a mature faith. If we do not actively give our kids opportunities to serve, how can we expect them to have a mature and lasting faith? Here are a few practical ways to help your kids serve:

  • Model service for your kids. As with each way to give your kids a faith that lasts, if you don’t lead by example you can hardly expect to have success. Make joyful service a regular part of your walk with Christ. As the psalmist says, “Serve the LORD with gladness!” (Psalm 100:2).
  • Serve with them. Go on a missions trip with your child. Or, if your church brings meals to families in need, volunteer to cook a meal with your child. Volunteer for a church work day to clean the building or maintain the grounds. If you’re not sure where to start, check with your pastor or ask a deacon; there are many needs in every local church!
  • Be active members at your church. Don’t be consumers at church. It’s very easy to slip into the mentality that church is there to meet your needs and cater to your preferences. Quite the opposite, Paul writes that God gave the church pastors and teachers “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12). We go to church so that we can receive the necessary teaching and training to go out and serve others.
  • Help your kids recognize opportunities to serve. Teach them to spot people in need. Perhaps it’s someone at school who is alone during lunch, a church visitor who seems lost, or a friend who seems to be having a bad day. There are people all around us who need to be listened to, encouraged, and supported. Pray that the Holy Spirit would make you and your children’s hearts sensitive to these opportunities.
  • Help your kids discover the gifts and passions God has given them. Paul tells us that “grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (Ephesians 4:7). In other words, Jesus has given each of his sheep gifts to be used in service of his kingdom. Learn about your child and the way God made them so that you can help them be good stewards the gifts God has blessed them with.

True saving faith, faith that lasts, is displayed by an outpouring of good works. As James says, “as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26). A vibrant and lasting faith leads to service. Teach and show your kids how their faith can bear fruit.