What does it practically look like to live out the call of parents to make disciples of their kids? While the answers to this question are diverse, one rhythm that many have found to be helpful are regular devotions. Chris Gonzalez, a leader at a Soma church in Arizona, shares in the following blog post ideas for devotions with kids. While some of these ideas are tailored for younger kids, many are helpful for parenting older children as well. Check it out below:
I was asked today by another dad what I do for devotions with my kids. I thought my response could be helpful in stirring the creative juices for some other dads. Full disclosure: I’m terrible at doing regular planned devotions with my kids. Ask Leslie. Teaching my kids tends to come more “along the way” than in a classroom setting. I am trying to work toward a balance. With that confession, here are some thoughts and ideas
Best Bibles: The Big Picture Story Bible and Jesus Storybook Bible. The JSB is great. Every Evangelical pastor with a Tim Keller tattoo has read this to his kids and recommended it to his congregation. Sally Lloyd Jones is a wonderful author and every story ends with a gospel bomb that “whispers His name.” The BPSB is a little less known, but I really love it. Rather than linking to Jesus in every story, it foreshadows and builds to Jesus. Some of the illustrations are interesting, like the way they draw Adam’s beard. Nonetheless, I really recommend this one, especially for younger kids.
Best Book: History of Redemption has scripture on each page they can memorize and the pictures are so gripping.
Best Audio: Bible.is for Kidz. Amy would listen to this thing on a little iPod-like thing when she was young. I swear she memorized the entire thing!
Best Catechism App: Well, I suppose it may be the only catechism app, but the New City Catechism for the iPad is really helpful. The kids loved playing with it and memorized quite a few of the questions.
Most Effective Thing We’ve Done: I do this thing where I tell them that I can tell the story of the entire bible before I walk across their bedroom. I have to keep moving forward, baby steps. I start at Creation and get to New Creation. I just talk really fast and pull a theme through off the top of my head. They probably only catch a small portion of it each night, but all total they start to get it after a few weeks. It is great training training for me too!
Most Effective Thing We Did With Toddlers: Leslie reminded me of this. We used to act out stories. I would read the One Year Bible in the morning and then we’d act out a story from my reading at night. Kids loved being characters in the story.
Most Reproducable Thing I’ve Done: I have the kids write the true story symbols on the window during dinner and have them tell the story.
Newest Endeavor: I take a paragraph each day(ish) of the Contemporary Testimony: Our World Belongs to God and paste it into a blank Keynote slide. We say it together and look up one of the verses. Then I ask them what jumps out at them. What should the font look like? Should it be big or small and why? What color? Is there a picture we should use for the background? They get on the computer and design the slide. Hopefully (at this rate in 4 years!) we’ll end up with a slide presentation of their artwork with the creed.
Best Along-the-way Thing I Do: Whenever something comes up I run it through Creation/Fall/Redemption. How is this a part of God’s good creation? How is this not the way it is supposed to be? How is Jesus making this right? I just always pepper them with variations of those three questions so they get the foundations of a True Storied worldview on everything.
And finally, there is one more piece that is crucial. Leslie and I are not doing this alone. We are a part of a missional community who takes responsibility with us to disciple our kids. There are 3 women in our MC who can get to our daughter’s heart quicker than Leslie and I. Leslie had part of “the talk” with our other daughter with 4 other women in our MC. And our 7 year old son joined me and 4 other guys last night as we got after how the gospel changes our hearts. Gospel, Community, and Mission. It is what adults need. It is what kids need.