How you live your faith at home will have a greater influence on the next generation than you can dream or imagine.
I am the son of an Aristotelian Objectivist. This is a term my father used on different occasions when describing his philosophical and “religious” worldview. I grew up in what I describe as a “healthy and loving pagan home.” My mother was a math and science teacher and my father was a computer graphics inventor in the early days of the computer industry. We had no real religious rhythm in our family life, and I learned that the home we grow up in forms so much of our outlook and attitudes. My parents’ lack of a spiritual framework affected me in many ways.
My three sons grew up in a pastor’s home. They went to church Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday for family nights. They all came to a real and life-impacting relationship with God through faith in Jesus. They heard prayer, saw Scripture reading, were invited into worship and experienced faith as normative. The presence of passionate and sincere faith in the home affected each of them more than they realize.
Your home and the way you live your faith will have a greater influence on the next generation (children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews) than you can dream or imagine. With this in mind, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other influential adults must see themselves as missionaries in the inner sanctum of the home and family. It is not uncommon for an adult to get on a plane and go on a mission trip far away but miss the chance to go on a missionary adventure every day in their own family system.
Why not try some of these simple ideas to make a gospel impact right where you live:
1. Read the Bible out in the open where your kids can see you engaging with God.
Share freely what you have learned from God’s Word. Tell children and grandchildren about Biblical stories, truths and life-changing lessons you have learned.
2. Pray with the young people in your family.
Ask about their needs and pray with passion. Learn the names and stories of their friends who are not Christians and pray with them for their friends to meet Jesus.
3. Serve together.
Invite your children and grandchildren to step out and serve others with you. It can be a neighborhood or community service project. As you serve, pray together for those you are helping. Invite the power of the Holy Spirit to enter the space where you are serving and the hearts of those you are caring for.
4. Share testimonies of God’s faithfulness and power.
Make it a normal pattern of your interaction with the next generation (children or teens) children and teens in your family. Tell them about funny stories, powerful encounters with God, surprising times the Holy Spirit has shown up and other ways you have met God in the flow of real life.
5. Speak words of blessing and encouragement.
In the name of Jesus, speak blessing over the next generation. If you are not sure where to start, consider memorizing Aaron’s blessing and speak this as a prayer over the little ones in your life:
“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.” (Num. 6:24-26)
Kevin Harney is the lead pastor of Shoreline Community Church in Monterey, California, the leader of Organic Outreach Ministries International, and the author of the Organic Outreach series of books and many other books, studies and articles. He is also a regular contributor to Outreach magazine.