As most of you know who follow my Twitter feed, I read hundreds of blog posts every day and tweet the best of these apologetics resources so you can stay on top of the best Christian case making. Some time ago I tweeted a blog from Daryl Evans, the pastor at First Baptist of Fairbury, entitled, How To Raise A Child In A Christian Home: 10 Important Tips. Daryl wrote the post from the perspective of a parent and pastor; he’s had the opportunity to see what works (and what doesn’t). Here is his advice for parents:
1. Put Christ first in your life
2. Model what a Christian should look like
3. Make family a priority
4. Teach your children the Bible and about God
5. Make sure you are connected to a church
6. Regularly attend a church
7. Encourage your children to have Godly influences in their lives
8. Pray regularly with and for your children
9. Serve others with your child/children
10. Share your faith with others around your children
Some good guidance here (please visit Daryl’s post for all the details). The most striking “tip” Daryl offered, however, was #4: Teach your children the Bible and about God. Who wouldn’t agree with this priority? For many of us, however, the challenge seems daunting. Do we know enough about the Bible to teach it to our children? What else do we need to know in order to effectively teach our children about God? Does this also involve making a case for God’s existence and answering the objections they will ultimately face from the culture? I think it does. Several years ago, Jon Nielson, the college pastor at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois wrote an article entitled, Why Youth Stay in Church When They Grow Up. Jon cited three important characteristics of college aged Christians who held on to their faith and were committed to their church family:
1. They are converted.
2. They have been equipped, not entertained.
3. Their parents preached the gospel to them.
Any of this sound familiar? I’m convinced that young people ought to be the focus of our case making efforts and we need to stop entertaining them and start training them. In fact, we need to shift completely from teaching to training. In addition, we must accept our God-given responsibility as parents and be our children’s primary source of information about God (both in word and example). We need to provide the truth about the Gospel, the content and reliability of the Bible, and the nature and evidence for God’s existence, even as we seek to model the love of Christ. We must become the best Christian Case Makers our kids will ever meet, and help our kids learn how to make the case.
If you’re a parent, you already know how quickly time flies. I can’t believe I have adult children, and I fret about whether I’ve done a good job equipping them over the years. That’s why Susie and I decided to write kid’s books: Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, God’s Crime Scene for Kids, and our latest, Forensic Faith for Kids. Our experience as parents, youth leaders and pastors taught us that young people begin to question their faith in junior high. We wanted to provide a resource that would answer critical questions kids might have before they even begin to ask them.
We wrote this trilogy of kids books to help children study the evidence for Christianity, investigate the evidence for God’s existence, and learn how to share the truth with others. Each book is designed and written to follow the adult books chapter by chapter, so parents can learn how to make the case first, then become the best Christian apologists their kids will ever know. The adult books will provide parents with the foundation they need to guide their kids through their junior high and high school years.
Parents can read the material together with their kids, even as their young Christians work through the Case Makers Academy online materials (including videos, fill-in sheets, activity sheets and the opportunity to earn a certificate of graduation). Leaders (like pastors and teachers) who can use the books (along with the free associated teaching resources) to train up larger groups of kids in a classroom or ministry setting. If there’s one thing we’ve learned as parents, authors and youth leaders, it’s the need to be intentional. Let’s model a rational Christian life for our kids, put them in a church setting that can help them grow and provide them with intentional opportunities to learn.
J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, Christian Case Maker, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, God’s Crime Scene, God’s Crime Scene for Kids, Forensic Faith, and Forensic Faith for Kids.