It’s wrong to “indoctrinate” our kids with our beliefs, right? We want our kids to think for themselves, and make their own decisions about God and faith. So we take our kids to church, we pray for them and say grace at dinner. We might read Bible stories to them, and answer their questions if they ask.
So that should be enough. We’ve done our Christian parenting duty, and our kids won’t be one of those churched kids that walks away from God – right?
Not so fast. A 5-year project headed up by Barna Group found 59% of churched kids raised in Christian homes disconnect from church or faith, either permanently or for an extended period of time, after age 15. Barna’s research uncovered 6 primary reasons why churched kids raised in Christian homes are disconnecting. What’s interesting is each of the 6 reasons
Kids need reasonable answers for their God questions, too. Apologetics can help.
The Barna research also concluded that parents and faith leaders are responding dangerously to our youth’s concerns by minimizing them. Or, parents and faith leaders are going overboard and attempting to make church more appealing to our youth. However, this can put too much emphasis where it doesn’t belong – on the preferences of a particular group of people instead of building the church on the foundation of God.
Instead of focusing on what our youth prefer in church, let’s focus on addressing their real questions and concerns. They watch to see if we live what we say we believe. They listen to what their friends, teachers, and media say is truth.
As a result they have real questions about God and faith, and they need real answers. Thankfully we don’t need to have theology degrees to have important faith conversations because we have resources available to help us.Christian parents – invest each day in your kids' faith. One hour on Sundays will not inoculate your kids against a skeptical world. #TalkingWithYourKidsAboutGod #Apologetics @Natasha_Crain @ReadBakerBooks Tweet This
How to use Talking with Your Kids about God
Organized so that each chapter builds upon the last, this book provides a cumulative learning experience appropriate for multiple settings: homes, church classes, youth groups, small groups, and homeschools. Every chapter has a conversation guide, and content is adaptable for use with kids from elementary age through high school.
Below I’ll give you some ideas of how you can tailor the conversations to your kids’ current ages and interests.
Talking with Your Kids about God: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have by Natasha Crain
You know how important it is to raise kids who love God. But in today’s increasingly skeptical and hostile world, how can you prepare them for the challenges and doubts they will inevitably face? What should you discuss and how should you discuss it?
In a friendly, parent-to-parent voice, Natasha Crain brings clarity to these answers by walking you through thirty essential conversations about God that parents and kids must have.
About the Author:
Natasha Crain is a mother, blogger, author, and speaker who is passionate about equipping Christian parents to raise their kids with an understanding of how to make a case for and defend their faith in an increasingly secular world.
She has previously authored Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith and is currently writing her 3rd book, Talking with Your Kids about Jesus publishing in 2019.
How the book is set up
Talking With Your Kids About God is divided into 5 primary topic areas covering the existence of God, science and God, the nature of God, believing in God and the difference God makes. Each primary topic is then subdivided into an overview (for you, the adult!) and 6 big God questions designed to facilitate conversation with kids.
These conversation questions are the exact questions and truth claims they will be wrestling as they engage the culture in their own everyday lives, such as:
- What Can We Learn about God from Nature?
- Can Science Prove or Disprove God’s Existence?
- What Does It Mean That God Is Love?
- Do All Religions Worship the Same God?
- What Is Our Responsibility to Other People?
Investing even just a few minutes a day into your kids’ faith will reap benefits
There’s a lot to like about this book. It is written in readily accessible language for non-specialists. Jargon and technical language are kept at a minimum, and well defined. As a parent, I appreciate that Natasha is a non-theologian parent, as she understands the needs of the Christian parent and Christian kids.
What sets this book apart from other books on apologetics for parents or kids is that it’s not a book for kids – there are books for that. This book is
As I was reading Talking with Your Kids about God by Natasha Crain my own son’s questions and areas of interests. I started devising plans on how I could incorporate those into these faith conversations and thought you might like these ideas, too.
How I use Talking with Your Kids about God by Natasha Crain with my son
Each chapter begins with a discussion of the particular issue, followed by a key points summary. This section is for you, the parent. Crain then moves into the conversation guide, providing 3 levels of guided discussions pertaining to that particular conversation. I suggest applying these 3 levels of guided discussions by age/comprehension level.
- Open the Conversation (I recommend this for Prek-1st grade)
- Advance the Conversation (I recommend adding this on with 2nd-4th graders)
- Apply the Conversation I recommend adding this with 5th graders and up)
Based on how I went through this book with my son, I suggest going through one chapter each week and having conversations throughout the week. With 30 conversations it would take 30 weeks to complete the book. When you finish, simply start over again from the beginning, adding additional guided discussions.
You could also incorporate some fun activities into each week’s conversations, such as drawing pictures related to the discussions, watching science videos, making models. Use your child’s interests to help draw them in and excite them to learn more. Incorporating doing with talking will help your child absorb the information more than talking alone.
Part 1: The Existence of God, Chapter 5: What is the Difference Between God and The Flying Spaghetti Monster?
(Ok, seriously. What kid isn’t going to love talking about a Flying Spaghetti Monster?)
- In Open the Conversation, have the suggested conversation and then have your kids draw a picture of what the Flying Spaghetti Monster might look like if it were real. Ask them what evidence they should expect to find if it were and have them draw pictures of that evidence.
Advancethe Conversation, have the suggested conversations and then watch some Youtube videos together about The Flying Spaghetti Monster or look at the website for The Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster. and discuss what evidence we should look for to help us decide the reasonableness of this belief. InApply the Conversation, have the suggested conversations and then learn about some Greek and Roman gods from ancient mythology and why people believed in them. Compare and contrast this belief system to the faith system of Judaism and early Christianity. The Bible Project has wonderful videos that explain 2nd Temple Judaism and Christian outgrowth from that historical period.
Talking with Your Kids about God by Natasha Crain will help you have intentional, guided conversations with your kids. You will be teaching them to think critically about God, nature, science, and the difference God makes in our lives. It doesn’t require a huge chunk of time each day to talk about the information in the overview and the discussion questions, and you will be gifting your children with the valuable skills of critical and analytical thinking.
Helping our children to think about what they believe, and why they believe it may help prevent them from walking away from their faith when they encounter those who question their faith because they have been allowed to express doubt and ask questions in a “safe” environment.
So you’re ready to start, but you might be asking yourself: What if you’re teaching apologetics to kids and you don’t know the answers?
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I’d love to hear what you think
What are some of the critical conversations you’ve had with kids about God, nature, science and who they are in relation to God? What big questions about God have you heard kids ask, but weren’t sure how to answer?
Resources I Recommend:
If you’d like to learn more about why young people are leaving faith or church behind, I recommend reading You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church . . . and Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman and Aly Hawkins because this book not only debunks some of the misinformation on why youth are leaving the faith but is jam-packed with proactive, helpful ideas for parents, church leaders, educators and young people themselves on how to develop an active, vibrant faith.