Practical Tips To Help You Explain God to Your Child(ren)
This blog was cowritten by Amy Lowe, Director of WinShape Camps for Girls, and David Jauregui, Discipleship Manager for WinShape Marriage. WinShape Camps is one of the five ministries of the WinShape Foundation. They create next-level camps that turn summers into meaningful experiences for campers and families.
Wonder. Do you remember the feeling as you were growing up? Maybe, you wondered why there were billions of stars in the sky or where bright and beautiful rainbows came from. Or perhaps, you wondered why your family dog was still covered with so much hair even though they kept shedding.
I love the innate curiosity and unique questions that come with growing up. As parents, we want to be the ones our kids come to with questions, especially spiritual ones. All children ask a million questions, and when they ask a “hard” question like, “Who is God?”, how amazing is it that we’ve been entrusted to provide them with an answer and further show them the wonder and majesty of a big God.
I grew up going to church on a regular basis, but in my home, conversations about God stayed firmly planted in the church building. Therefore, I had to learn how to talk to my own kids about God in everyday life. Maybe, you’re like me in that way—learning as a first-time parent. We don’t do it right all the time, but my husband and I work hard to point out the truth about who God is in our daily life.
Foremost, we make spiritual conversations normal in our home. We do family devotions, we pray, and we talk about God together outside of Sunday morning sermons or weekly bible studies.
Secondly, we point to the Bible for the source of truth. God’s Word is the best guide for all of us to understand Him. So, when our children ask God questions, we go to the Bible to find the answers (together)!
Keeping that as the foundation, here are a few practical ways to explain God to a child.
1. Explain God is bigger than we are. (Isaiah 55:9) This is easy to talk about whenever you’re outside. Encourage your kids to look around our big world, and point out God made all of it!
2. Explain God is love. (1 John 4:7-8) God loves us more than we can even love ourselves and even more than you, as a parent, love your children. Love is something that kids understand, so help them understand that God is a generous loving father who wants good things for His children.
3. Explain God is holy. (Isaiah 6:3) This one is a little harder, but kids can grasp it with proper explanation. Explaining this to children means helping them understand God is not like us. He is perfect. He only makes the right decisions, and He knows everything.
Research shows if a person doesn’t accept Christ as a child, the chances of them accepting Him are very low. This should make us even more intentional in our parenting when our kids are little, showing them the character of God day in and day out.
How Your Marriage Represents God to Your Children
So, now that we’ve walked through practical tips for helping you explain God to your children, we’d like to identify ways you and your spouse can honor God by allowing your marriage to represent Him to your children.
Amy described wonder from the point of view of a child, and I absolutely agree. Wonder is baked into being a little kid. Not only will your kids ask, “Who is God?”, they’re likely to ask follow-up questions, “What is God like?”; Does God have big teeth?”; “Do you think Jesus ate blueberry muffins?” In moments of fear, they may ask a more vulnerable question, “Where is God?”
As described above, it’s vital to give our children great scriptural answers to their questions. Speaking, reading, and teaching truth to our children is foundational. However, we run the risk of these foundational truths lingering as a conceptualized belief versus a metabolized faith if they stay only in the realm of speaking and hearing.
Kids need to see and experience foundational truths, and this starts with you and your spouse—their mom and dad. Why? A child’s first understanding of who God is and what He is like is through the felt experiences they have with their parents.
One of the clearest “explanations” of God we can give our children is allowing them to witness a healthy marriage relationship. While perfect marriages don’t exist, healthy marriages are like the soil from which a child’s understanding of God can grow and flourish. Allowing your kids to appropriately watch key conversations with your spouse is fertile teaching ground.
Here are two practical tips for how you can ensure your marriage represents God to your children.
1. It’s not about the rip. It’s about the repair. As human beings, we will have rips in our marriage relationship. The good news is repair is more important than the conflict itself. Couples who quickly circle back and repair with safety and vulnerability strengthen their relationship more than if they didn’t have the conflict at all.
When I snap at my wife, and I pursue repair with her, I model something significant to my kids. Love remains and deepens through mistakes. Your children will learn that God never fails us, but when we fail Him, He always pursues repair with us.
2. Seek connection before correction. Marriage is not about one spouse winning, while the other loses. When this exists, you both lose. Often, Jesus connected with people and their hearts before He corrected or invited them into something different. Seek to connect with your spouse through empathy and compassion before offering suggestions for change. When you do so, your kids will learn that God cares more about their heart than their behavior, and they’ll avoid forming a favor-based relationship with God.
How To Teach the Gospel to a Child
Lastly, if you’re looking to simply begin by sharing the gospel with your children in a digestible way, WinShape Camps uses the following tool. There are four images with accompanying verses. May all these suggestions spark fruitful conversation in your family as you point your kids to the Savior.
1. A Heart—God Loves: John 3:16. God’s love for us and desire for relationship shows up big time in this verse. Our God is love, and He loves us.
2. A Broken Heart—We Sin: Romans 3:23. We had a perfect relationship with God in the beginning (Genesis 1-3), but when sin entered the world, it broke that relationship. Our sin caused this broken relationship.
3. The Cross—God Gave: Romans 6:23. Because of God’s love for us and that desire for relationship, He did what only He could do and sent His son Jesus to die for our sins and restore that relationship.
4. A Gift—We Receive: Romans 10:9-10. God gave, but it is our choice to believe and confess with our mouth that Jesus did die for our sins. It was a gift given to us that we simply get to receive.