Boring. Routine. Forgetful. These are words that reek of mediocrity and tepidness. When it comes to things that matter, we want to be thrilling, adventurous and memorable – especially when it comes to our faith. Let’s face it. Why should our children and teens embrace our faith if it’s bland, repetitive and driven by a fear to fit in with the holy huddle? This may be religion, but it’s not the way of Christ. Jesus was compelling, creative and unforgettable. His stories used common metaphors and visuals to teach outstanding and deep spiritual truths. As parents, we should strive to follow his example. How do we connect our kids with a vibrant, compelling, lasting faith? Our kids want an experience before an explanation.
Futurist Leonard Sweet describes how to impact our current generation of children and teens. Offer an epic experience:
EPIC – Experiential, Participatory, Image-rich and Connected.1
• Experiential – Our kids want to engage their senses to see, touch or do something, not simply hear about it.
•Participatory – Gen iY wants to express themselves online, with Tweets, Facebook posts, and texting their votes for their favorite on the singing and dance competition shows on TV.
• Image-rich – Spending nearly eight hours a day in front of a screen, this is a visually oriented crew. Images, icons and brands may be their language more than words.
• Connected – Teens don’t see their phone as a tool as much as an appendage. It is always with them and they ‘need’ it to stay connected with their friends and the emerging news and social events.
Many parents opt for the easy way out. They outsource their children’s spiritual formation to the church or the Christian school. Their children see that their parents have outsourced faith and it becomes an option in their busy lives, like soccer, piano lessons, and martial arts. It isn’t the compelling center of their lives that will leave an epic imprint. It’s simply an option. And when they get to be teens, they often opt out. But we can make faith compelling, vibrant and epic. And we don’t have to know everything about the Bible; but we do have to take some risks. But it will be worth if it our kids develop an edgy, epic, extraordinary faith - one with the fragrance of Christ.
Why don’t most parents try making faith fun at home?
Because most parents haven’t seen it. They have been told that they should be ‘doing devotions’ or ‘be the spiritual leader of the home.’ But most parents have never been shown how. They have never been trained on how to pass along a vibrant, authentic faith to their kids.
Until now ... in 52 Creative Family Time Experiences, you will discover three ways to pass along authentic faith at home:
1) Informal daily moments when you can impress faith.
2) Intentional family times that you schedule weekly, or every other week.
3) Milestones: holidays and rites of passage when you affirm spiritual growth. These are designed to set up three kinds of epic moments with your kids. They are fun ways to bring faith home. You don’t have to do all three; they are simply options for you to choose what works best for your family.
Talking about faith at home is very biblical:
This scripture is a portion of The Shema – the most quoted scripture and repeated prayer in the world. Observant Jews are likely to recite it six or more times daily. It’s God’s pathway for spiritual formation in the home. It was probably the first prayer Jesus heard as a child. So it’s a good place for us to start. It provides a template for informal faith talks. Ideally, you will have a combination of formal and informal faith talks with your kids. The formal talks often set up the informal. My hope and prayer is that you would strategically and intentionally plan epic conversations and experiences with your children that generate experiencing God together. Don’t worry about doing it perfectly. Sometimes the failures and flubs make the biggest impressions. Something is better than nothing. Apply grace where needed.
1 Leonard Sweet, Post-Modern Pilgrims: First Century Passion for the 21st Century World (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2000)