Share Your Faith Story With Your Kids

As Easter approaches, many churches and families look for ways to prepare for and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  Some people give up something as a way to focus on the significance on the season. One person I follow on social media is fasting from his personal social media feeds “to focus more on my faith, family and friends.”

Others choose to add something to their schedule like devotional readings, times of prayer or specific periods of reflection.

Here’s a great idea for parents to use this Easter season:  share your faith story with your kids.

Do your children know how you came into your relationship with Jesus?

As I was reading The Jesus Gap the author gave several suggestions to youth workers and parents to help point our students to a Biblical picture of Jesus.  One was a pretty simple idea – to have families share their faith stories.

In the book the author referred to research done by the College Transition Project.  The author wrote this:  “Don’t assume family members already know each other’s faith stories.  Most don’t, even though the College Transition Project showed us that parents sharing about their own faith is vital to the process of a child growing into his or her own.”

If your family has been going to church your whole life, do your children know why?

Do they know the when/why/how that lead you to become a follower of Jesus?

Our “conversion stories” don’t have to be dramatic or even long-winded.  Taking some time to share the people and events that lead you as a mom or dad into a relationship with Jesus  can be a great story for your children to hear.

Without being too morbid, isn’t amazing what we learn about people after they are gone?  Over the years I have been involved in a number of funeral services, both as a minister and having lost family members. During the visitation hours and the meal times, you get to hear stories about the life of your friend or loved one.  Many times you learn something about that person because someone shares an experience that is new to you.  It gives you a different perspective on that person’s life.

As Easter approaches, why not take a few minutes, maybe at the dinner to table, to share your faith story?  Perhaps your children have heard it before.  But, maybe they haven’t.  Perhaps we assume our children already know it.  It could be they don’t.  Take some time to share how you came to follow Jesus and even why you still follow Him today.  It could lead to some great conversations.

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Conforming Jesus to our Own Image

facesofjesusDuring the summer months, as I was ordering some small group curriculum from The Youth Cartel, I picked up a copy of Jen Bradbury’s book The Jesus Gap. I just started digging into it this week and am intrigued to move farther through the chapters.

The book takes a look at what teens believe about Jesus and it is based on both research and the author’s experience in working with students. In the opening chapters, Bradbury references a 2010 article from Christianity Today written by Scot McKnight. He writes about how people view Jesus and His conclusion is that we as people conform Jesus to our own image.

“Instead, if given to enough people, the test will reveal that we all think Jesus is like us. Introverts think Jesus is introverted, for example, and, on the basis of the same questions, extroverts think Jesus is extroverted. Spiritual formation experts would love to hear that students in my Jesus class are becoming like Jesus, but the test actually reveals the reverse: Students are fashioning Jesus to be more like themselves. If the test were given to a random sample of adults, the results would be measurably similar. To one degree or another, we all conform Jesus to our own image.”

In the first chapter Bradbury shares some of the views that students have of Jesus – from Jesus as a Superhero to an Average Joe Jesus – and whether they see Jesus as being either obedient or rebellious or quiet or talkative.  The responses are so varied that she feels her investigation supports what McKnight wrote about in 2010.

For church workers, it does raise the question of how students (and adults) in our congregations view Jesus.  I have to assume that the views we would discover are as varied as the research Bradbury shares.

For followers of Jesus – and for me – I have to wonder whether I have conformed Jesus to my own image.  Is my view of Jesus based on what is revealed in Scripture or do I view Jesus more in line what I think He is?

I’m curious to not only read the rest of the research in the book, but also to learn how to apply that in our specific context. The point (I think) is not just to learn about how people – how our students – view Jesus, but how that impacts our relationship with Him. Bradbury quotes Carl Braaten in her introduction pointing to why our view of Jesus is important: “…faith stands or falls with what it knows about Jesus of Nazareth.”