To wrap up this series encourage you to raise your children with God at the centre, following is a whole list of resources where you can find more ideas or suggestions.
Resources to encourage you & help you raise children in the faith:
Gospel-Centred Family, Ed Moll & Tim Chester (The Good Book Company, 2009)
This book challenges us to think about how being Christian changes our parenting, our goals for our children & our priorities as a family. It emphasizes God’s word as a priority, the need for discipline but also grace, and encourages us to think about being a mission-minded family. Short and easy to read.
Leading Your Child to Jesus, David Staal (Zondervan, 2006)
A helpful and practical book that helps you to think about how speak to children about matters of faith, your own faith & conversion, God’s plan of salvation, and how to help children pray to God to accept him as their Saviour and Lord.
Praying the Scriptures for your Children, Jodie Bernt (Zondervan, 2001)
This book (aimed at mothers) helps us think through how to pray biblically and intelligently for our children. She has five categories: faith, character, safety, relationships and future. Easy to read, with lots of anecdotes, and is ‘ready to go’: each chapter contains the bible verses at the end to use to pray for your children. This book will help you to think about better ways to pray and help you to pray straight from the bible. You will probably find you use the principles to change your whole prayer life, not just your prayers for your children.
Treasuring God in Our Traditions, Noël Piper (Crossway, 2003)
Helps you think about why to have traditions in the home and what you could consider doing. She says “we are always teaching our children, whether we mean to or not” & that “we must plan to reflect God and teach about Christ in the repeated events of our lives”. There are good suggestions for everyday and regular traditions, special times (eg birthdays), Christmas and Easter. Don’t feel overwhelmed with ideas, just use what works for your own family.
Disciplines of a Godly Family, Kent and Barbara Hughes (Crossway, 2004)
Gives a godly perspective on many parenting issues, many practical ideas of how to share your faith within your family, how to establish family traditions and lots of useful appendices. Don’t feel overwhelmed with ideas, just use what works for your own family.
Revolutionary Parenting, George Barna (Tyndale House, 2010)
Summarises research on now adult believers and their parents. Addressing areas such as character; discipline; roles of a parent; planning as a parent; faith and how we teach it; as well as others, he suggests a way forward for teaching our children and what we prioritise in the home.
Some children’s bible suggestions:
The Big Picture Story Bible (David Helm, ill. Gail Schoonmaker, Crossway Books).
Great for ages 4-7. One of the few children’s bibles that explains that there is one unifying theme through the whole of the bible: God’s people under God’s rule in God’s place. The illustrations are vivid and often from odd angles, which kids enjoy. The individual story units are sometimes too long, but you can split them.
The Jesus Story Book Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (Sally Lloyd-Jones, ill. Jago).
Very good for ages 5-8. It draws attention in each story to how Jesus will or does fulfill each part of the bible, OT or NT (although sometimes over-stretched). The illustrations are engaging and enjoyable. It does not shy away from details and emotion.
The Gospel Story Bible (Marty Machowski, ill. A.E. Macha, 2011)
Good for family bible time or individual reading with children aged 6+, each story is one open page with great illustrations and some questions to talk about. More detail is given than most children’s bibles and in each account it draws the links to Jesus and how it impacts our faith or understanding today.
The Lion Day-by-Day Bible (Mary Joslin, ill. Amanda Hall).
Good for 5-8 years. Divided into daily readings, this bible includes a lot of content that many other children’s bibles never go near. Sometimes too much extra-information, implied emotions, etc.
The Beginner’s Bible (Candle Books, UK or Zonderkidz, USA, 2005).
Good for 3-5 years. The stories give some detail and the pictures are engaging (although not very realistic!).
The Rhyme Bible (L.J. Sattgast, ill. Toni Goffe).
The bible in rhyme is a fun change between reading other bibles, it’s impressive how Stattgast has turned the bible accounts into rhyme while still keeping the accounts relatively accurate. Good for 3-5 years.
The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers (L.J. Sattgast, ill. Toni Goffe).
The same duo who wrote The Rhyme Bible (above) created a simplified version for toddlers. Great for 2-4 year olds.
First Bible Stories (adapted by Jillian Harker and Michael Phipps, ill. by John Dillow).
Great, very appropriate for age 4-6. Stories are explained well, making the salient points with age appropriate language.
When reading independently, move to a full bible (simpler translation), eg. NIrV or CEV.
Children’s and family devotional material:
- A selection distributed by the Good Book Company (thegoodbook.com.au):
- Beginning with God – Bible discovery for pre-schoolers (3-5 years). Using the stories from The Beginner’s Bible, it picks out a key point to talk about, prayers to pray and a continual reminder that these are true stories about God and his work in the world. There are optional activities for emphasis, and a sticker for each study. 3 volumes.
- XTB (for readers, 6-11 years). Activity book working through parts of the bible in detail. 12 volumes, each lasts for 3 months. There is also specific material for Christmas: Christmas Unpacked, and Easter: Easter Unscrambled.
- Table Talk (family bible discovery with children age 4+) – these match the XTB issues, so you can use both or either.
- Advent Calendar Packs: The Real Christmas Tree, Christmas Opened Up, Countdown to the Coming of the King (for families, children 4+ years)
- Bible Bites: 365 Devotions for Aussie Families, Ladeane Lindsay
- Old Story New and Long Story Short, 10 minute family devotions by Marty Machowski
- Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God, Bruce A. Ware. A summary of Christian theology at a level to teach children, each chapter deals with an attribute of God and his work in the world. It could be a great resource for sharpening parents’ minds as they use it to teach their children.
- Training Hearts, Teaching Minds, Starr Meade. Book of family devotions based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism: 6 devotions per week for each of the 107 questions of the Catechism (which she has adapted into more modern, accessible language). If done straight through, it would take 2 years. However, it’s the type of resource you could use in bits and pieces.
- Pray for the World. An abridged version of Operation World. For each country there are a few basic details, then 4-5 prayer points. Great for family use together, or an individual resource.
- The Ology, Marty Machowski. Book of theology, broken into 71 short chapters, each easy to read aloud in one short sitting. Covering large topics such as theology of God, of people, of sin, of Christ, of the church and God’s word, Machowski has produced an excellent resource for families with primary aged children.
- Music: Colin Buchanan, Emu Music, Veggie Tales, adult Christian music, contemporary and traditional hymns
- Bible verses to song: eg. Colin Buchanan’s Boom Chicka Boom & Baa Baa Doo Baa Baa
- DVDs: Colin Buchanan, Veggie Tales
- Read: children’s Christian fiction (eg. Patricia St John), biographies
- Learn bible verses as a family
- Learn the Lord’s Prayer together – and talk about what it means.
- Learn the Apostle’s or Nicene Creed together– and talk about what each section means.
- Learn a catechism together & explain it
- Advent calendar / set of readings about the birth of Jesus or the story of the bible up to Jesus: design your own, or use another, eg. Advent Calendar Packs or XTB – Christmas Unpacked (both by Good Book Company)
- Celebrate Jesus’ birthday the same way you would celebrate any other family birthday
- Listen to good Christian Christmas music CDs, eg. carols and Colin Buchanan’s King of Christmas
- Passover Meal on Thursday night (simplified for your family)
- Read through accounts on the days they happened
- Daily readings leading up to Easter (design your own or use another, eg. XTB – Easter Unscrambled)
- ‘Resurrection cake’ on Easter Sunday (put a cracked Easter egg on top – to show the empty tomb)
For other ideas, detailed book reviews & free resources, including Christmas & Easter family readings, see Wendy’s blog – www.musingsinadelaide.blogspot.com