Faith Path Overview
God has established the family as the foundation of human existence. Families are intended to provide a nurturing and guiding environment that helps children develop into healthy, inter-dependent adults. Families serve as the primary context for spiritual formation and parents are the main spiritual influence in a child’s life.
The Faith Path strategy is designed to give parents a clear plan for intentionally cultivating their children’s personal faith in Jesus Christ. Faith Path offers suggestions for age-appropriate practices and conversations at various stages of a child’s life. Parents will grow in their own spiritual formation as they lead their children to embrace these disciplines.
This process is intended to help guide a child to become a healthy, growing follower of Jesus. At some point along the way, your child will be mature enough to make a conscious decision to trust Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior and then be baptized as a Christian. Until then, you will model a commitment to Jesus, lay a foundation for faith, and plant seeds of truth.
Faith Path Steps
“Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
These recommendations are general age-appropriate suggestions. You know your child best and will need to determine when and how to emphasize each step.
Parent Dedication (Birth–2 years)
Make a commitment to raise your child in a Christ–centered home. Our church’s Parent/Child Dedication service is a time for parents to publicly pledge to raise their child in a Christian home. In order to strengthen this commitment, parents are required to participate in our New Parent seminar.
Blessing (3+ years)
Establish the practice of praying for and with your child. “The Blessing” by Gary Smalley and John Trent (available in our Library) identifies several keys to “blessing” your child including physical closeness, words of affirmation and predicting a positive future.
Family Time (4+ years)
Establish the practice of connecting as a family while passing spiritual truth on to your child. In addition to praying at meal time and bed time, introduce age-appropriate Bible stories into your regular nightly reading schedule.
Worship (5+ years)
In addition to Sunday morning worship services at church, expand the practice of praising God throughout the week. Help your child understand that worship is more than just music. It involves appreciating who God is and all that he has done.
Prayer (6+ years)
Teach your child about prayer and help him or her learn how to “talk to God” throughout the day. Expand the practice of praying together as a family. Keep track of your requests and thank God for His answers.
Guiding Your Child to Christ (7+ years)
Although it may be several years before your child expresses interest in making a commitment, you need to learn how to lead your child to Christ. Our Children’s Ministry offers resources to assist in this process including a “What It Means to be a Christian” class.
Bible (8+ years)
Teach your child about the importance of God’s Word. Model the discipline of reading and reflecting on Scripture. Establish the practice of memorizing verses together as a family.
Giving and Serving (9+ years)
Establish the practices of giving to God and serving others. Talk to your child about the importance of “giving” to God financially through tithes and offerings. Model for your child the act of humble service to other people.
Preparing for Adolescence (11+ years)
Discuss the rapidly approaching changes and challenges of puberty with your “tween.” The more you initiate and discuss now, the fewer surprises you’ll have later on. Both you and your child need to prepare for what’s ahead (i.e. physical changes, mood swings, self-consciousness and need for peer acceptance).
Purity (13+ years)
Teach your teen about the importance of sexual purity. Help your son or daughter understand that while God has created us as sexual beings, and puberty prepares a person physically for reproduction, sexual intimacy is a gift to be shared only in a marriage relationship.
Rite of Passage (16+ years)
Growing independence demands growing responsibility! A driver’s license represents a significant new stage of life. Help your teen cultivate a Christian worldview, discover interests and abilities, and develop a vision for the future.
Launch (18+ years)
Coach your young adult toward college and/or a career. You can’t turn loose of the rope all at once! It’s important that you assist your son or daughter in becoming emotionally and financially independent over a period of several years.