Summer is here! We’ve made it through the school year to the time when schedules are flexible, days are longer, and your tiny people are home a LOT more than usual. Summer brings opportunities to change up routines, find new rhythms as a family, and try things out that you haven’t had time for in other seasons. So as you’re thinking about the next few months, I wanted to share some resources to help you pass on the faith to your kids!
Can kids be theologians?
Before we talk about resources, I wanted to spend some time thinking about why we should teach our children the Bible and the doctrines of the faith.
The Bible makes clear that it is the primary responsibility of parents to raise their children in the Lord and teach them what it means to love and follow Jesus, always aware that it is God who is at work to redeem their hearts. Our teaching is the kindling laid at their hearts, waiting for the fire of the Holy Spirit to ignite their faith. We can’t save them, but we can teach them and ask the Lord to use it.
Training our Kids in godliness is not something that happens once or twice a week, nor is it something we can put off until they are older, but it is part of the regular rhythm of life in the family of God. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 we read:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
The local church is the family of God, partnering together to spur one another on, including in raising our children. So we want to come alongside parents, encouraging and equipping them in the joy of training our children in the faith!
Everyone is a theologian - everyone has thoughts and ideas about who God is. That includes our children. The real question is have we taken the time to be good theologians, and are we teaching our children to do the same?
My hope is that some of these resources will help you teach your children, especially in this approaching season!
1. Tiny Theologians (ages 3-12)
This small shop creates discipleship tools perfectly suited for parents teaching their children core tenants of the Christian faith! From attributes of God, to church history and the doctrine of union with Christ, this small company creates beautiful and functional products to teach deep truths to small minds (I love their vision so much that I borrowed their name for this post title!). Their products are high quality and intended to last, so they are on the pricier side. This would be good to choose one tool to work through for the summer!
2. The Gospel Project (ages 6-12)
If you have a kiddo who is in one of our elementary age classes on Sunday (meaning they just completed 1st through 5th grade), you could reinforce what they are learning in the classroom with some review at home during the week! Lifeway’s Gospel Project curriculum has tons of tools, one of which is intended for families to talk about at home! Their “Big Picture Cards” include the key verse, gospel-connection, and summary of each week’s story, so you could use them to help kids retain what they’re learning. They are very affordable and would be a simple tool to use at the breakfast table to have good conversation in between Sundays.
3. The Bible Project (ages 5-80)
The age range was tough to define here because the Bible Project videos are intended for a huge audience! While this isn’t a children’s resource, they are beautiful, creative animated videos of Bible stories, themes, and concepts that would be a lot of fun to watch together as a family. Bear in mind that these are written for adults so some of the concepts may be tough for young kids to understand, but they would be great conversation starters for older kids, and could still engage young ones in the biblical story! Just be sure to watch them first to make sure the content of the video you choose is appropriate for your kids’ ages!
4. New City Catechism (ages 4-11)
Catechism is a fancy word that means “oral instruction.” It is an ancient tradition of teaching new believers the core tenets of the Christian faith by memorizing key questions and answers for the purpose of growth in faith. Memorization of integral truths about who God is give our children (and us!) a framework and a language through which they can interpret an immensely confusing world. It is a method of teaching that has largely fallen out of practice but is seeing a resurgence in things like the New City Catechism. This collection of questions and answers has a full version intended for adults and a shortened version for children, available in both a book and a free app! Both guide learners through core doctrines of the Christian faith, rooting their understanding of God in Scripture and orienting their worldview through the lens of the gospel. It is a valuable tool in discipleship at any age.
5. Scripture Memory
Memorizing Scripture can seem like a daunting task if you’ve never done it before, but our kids are surprisingly well suited for it! And as they learn, we learn too! Hiding God’s word in their hearts is one of the most valuable and lasting gifts we can give our children. In moments of fear, pain, confusion, and despair, they can call to mind the very words of God to give them hope. He has given us his word! What a joy. This can be as simple as printing verses from biblegateway.com, or using cards like these at the breakfast table. Give it a try! Offer an incentive, make it a game, memorize with them, use funny voices, and see how amazing our kids can be at memorizing God’s word.
6. Risen Motherhood
My last recommendation is actually a list of recommendations. Risen Motherhood is a ministry geared toward helping moms view all of life through the lens of creation, fall, redemption, restoration. It is a gospel-centered ministry with a heart for passing on the faith to our children, and we love that! They have a robust list of resources for training children, and it’s worth a look all its own. They also frequently share new things they are reading on their social media, so give them a follow if you’re interested!
If you’re anything like me, you’re looking at this list and are completely overwhelmed. My encouragement to you (and to my own heart) is to just do one thing. Don’t try to catechize your children overnight, and don’t implement a homeschool program of Scripture memory over the summer. Just choose one tool that interests you and seems like something your family could use, and start there! Every intentional moment we spend passing on the hope of the gospel to our kids is valuable. So start small, but just start.
I hope this summer is full of fun, laughter, sleeping in, and good robust theological education! :)
If you’re a podcast junkie like me, check out these episodes on why we can and should train our children.
Knowing Faith - Can Kids Be Theologians?
And all summer, make sure to jam out to our New City Kids playlist on Spotify! It is chock full of rich theological truth, Scripture set to catchy music, and it won’t make you want to pull your hair out.