I am a preacher’s kid and my dad is my favorite preacher. I’ve heard some sermons more than once, enough to have a favorite. As children, my siblings and I referred to it as “the parrot sermon” (because of a variation of this illustration). The sermon’s actual title is “Who will teach the children?” using scriptures from the book of Deuteronomy.
This sermon uses the stages of faith outlined in John Westerhoff’s Will Our Children Have Faith?. Those stages are experienced faith (a faith you are born into – you believe because your parents believe), affiliative faith (belonging to a community – believing because the group believes), searching faith (beginning to question “why” – typically during the adolescent/young adult years), and finally an owned faith (strong, personal faith, grounded in “I Know” statements). Many people will never pass the second stage. Children must be taught what, how, and why to believe. The best way to teach your faith is through action.
Recently, our family transitioned from military to civilian life. During the interim, we lived with my father-in-law for several months. Our son, then six-years-old, asked many questions about when we would move, where we go, what the new place would be like, and so on. I answered each question with, “I don’t have that answer right now, but when I do, I will tell you.” Much more importantly, I shared a deeper part of faith with him – that God is taking care of us and already knows our destination. I often think he isn’t listening or paying attention, but one weekend he surprised me. We were talking with my favorite preacher on Skype about not knowing where we would live and Dietrich said, “But God’s going to point us in the right direction!” This filled my heart with joy beyond words. I KNOW God is taking and will take care of everything because He has in the past. I KNOW His plan for our lives is good and perfect (Romans 12:1-2) and that He gives us everything we need (2 Peter 1:3-4).
Guest Post by Angela, who blogs over at Growing Up In The Lord. Hop over and check out more of her encouraging posts.
“I consider myself and my writing as a work in progress. I am first and foremost a Christian, a wife, and a mom. Like most women, I struggle to balance those roles and I write as a way of sharing what I’ve learned and what I want to do better.”