My daughter has always been very confident sharing her faith. She easily shares her beliefs with people many Christians would consider “difficult to convert”. She started this at an extremely young age by just having natural conversations with her peers.
I started thinking about how we had raised a child that shared her faith so easily. Some may argue it’s a gift from God and in some ways it is. On the other hand, she is somewhat introverted and doesn’t necessarily gravitate towards having conversations with people she doesn’t know well.
Looking back, I do think there were a few things we tried to communicate on a regular basis that may have helped her feel more at ease sharing God with others. I am sure there are many things you could do, but here are some that worked well for us:
- Help your child have a personal faith before they leave home. Since she was tiny, we talked about God and His principles and commands. We explained why we believed each one was important and helped improve our lives. We talked about why others chose to disobey them and the consequences they were suffering. We asked her what she thought about what she heard in sermons and in Bible class. When her friends had questions about her faith, we encouraged her to think about why she believed those things. I am sure she still has some thinking to do, but then again I think our faith continues to develop until we die. I do believe her beliefs are hers and not just ours.
- Encourage your child to reflect God’s love in everything he does. Whether it means speaking kindly or helping others, your child should do everything in the most loving way possible. This is great way for your child to begin sharing his faith. Your child will need to see you model this and discuss it many times before really understanding how to live that way.
- Remind your child he doesn’t have to do everything. The church can put so much pressure on people. Sometimes I think people believe if they don’t get an atheist from disbelief to committed Christian in one conversation, they have failed. We talked a lot about being seed planters in our house. Every time you are given the opportunity, plant one seed that points that person to God. It is between God and that person what happens to the seeds you plant.
- Train your child to recognize opportunities and take them. Our daughter is probably more savvy than either of her parents at this skill. She can take a conversation about celebrating the holidays with her Jewish friends and tie it to something that opens their eyes and minds a little about Christ. Some opportunities are obvious and others like conversations about holidays are more subtle. Over time, your child should be able to take advantage of almost any conversation to say something to point someone towards God.
- Teach your child that every conversation about God should end with an “invitation”. No, not every one needs to be asked if they are ready to be baptized when your child meets them. If your child is having a “God” conversation though, she should find a way to encourage the person to take another step towards God. This could be anything from inviting him to worship to encouraging him to read a specific book of the Bible to asking him to a Bible study. Even if you never see that person again, they should be challenged to take another step towards God.
- Make sure your child understands he doesn’t have to have all of the answers. It is okay to tell someone you don’t know but will find out for them. It is even okay to not say the next thing you “should” have said or accidentally say something that is incorrect. The focus should be on showing God’s love, pointing the person to God and encouraging personal Bible study and prayer.
- Finally, encourage your child to ask for help. Whether it’s praying to God, asking an older Christian to study with someone or just going over what happened with his family, the best way for your child to grow in his faith sharing is to ask for help. God put us in the Body so we have support available when we need it. Teach your child to take advantage of his resources.
Raising a child who easily shares her faith is not an overnight process. If you are somewhat intentional through the years though, you may be surprised at how readily and how well your child does begin sharing her faith. In fact, we may soon be at a time, when we start asking our daughter for pointers!