Family devotions are an important part of leading kids along their faith journey. But it’s hard to be consistent with family faith-building time when life is busy and unpredictable.
Confession: we didn’t do family devotions in my home when I was a child. Even though my parents were committed to teaching us about God and what it meant to follow Jesus, we barely ever sat down with a Bible or devotional on a regular basis. We didn’t have books, resources, and blog posts to follow. So there wasn’t near as much pressure to do family devotions a certain way.
RETHINKING FAMILY DEVOTIONS
I still grew to love and serve Jesus with my whole life. It just happened more organically for me. Do I wish I’d developed the discipline of family devotions all those years ago? Sure! I don’t share this part of my upbringing to discount the importance of family devotions. But I do hope it encourages you that it’s okay to not do things “by the book.”
So what if we started to rethink the idea of family devotions? We can do this with one, little change.
DROP THE S.
It’s that simple. Change the plural—which just ends up on our running list of “one more thing we have to do”—to a descriptive noun that signifies faithfulness and commitment, no strings attached.
WHAT IS FAMILY DEVOTION?
Family devotion is a commitment to teach kids that learning about God and the Bible is important to our spiritual growth. It doesn’t imply a specific act but rather an atmosphere and attitude that is cultivated over time.
Now let’s take that limiting letter S and re-purpose it into 5 important aspects of family devotion that can help us become more consistent with our family devotion(s).
Find Simple Tools + Methods for Family Devotions. What works for one family may not work for another. Look for books and tools that will be effective for your unique family situation and don’t worry whether or not it’s up to par with what others are doing. Try this simple 5 Step Bible Study Method (it can take as little as 10 minutes) or try one of our Minno 5 Minute Family Devotionals. Even 10-15 minutes a week spent reading a verse from the Bible and talking about it is a seed of family devotion planted in the lives of our kids!
Cultivate a Faith Culture in Your Home. It worked for our family devotion time to be unstructured because my parents cultivated a culture of faith in our home. That means faith was a natural part of our everyday conversations. So although we weren’t sitting around a Bible or devotional book often, we were having daily conversations that molded our faith. We felt love, acceptance, and permission to ask questions at all times. Focus on nurturing an atmosphere of faith in your home. Create a safe place for your kids to develop an organic understanding of God and the Bible through regular encounters with you.
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Listen in to a conversation on How to Be a More Consistent Parent with child and family counselors, Sissy Goff and David Thomas. on the Raising Boys and Girls Podcast.
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Plant Faith-Building Moments into Everyday Life. Look for opportunities to create teachable experiences. Stop in the midst of correction, instruction, and everyday conversations to point kids toward God and His Word. Every time we turn a conversation into a faith-building moment we plant more seeds of family devotion in the soil of our child’s heart. There is no book for this, but it’s the most valuable way to teach our kids; it’s the very way Jesus taught His disciples.
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28 MSG
Find a Rhythm in the Seasons. I love the church calendar. Advent, Epiphany, Lent, even Ordinary Time . . . each season has a sacred purpose and a rhythm that leads one into the next. Even Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall bring with them the opportunity for new lessons about life and growth. Follow the seasons and develop a rhythm for your family. You can find lots of seasonal resources right here at Minno.
Start with Sundays. Our commitment to the Body of Christ (the church) is one of the most powerful ways we teach our children about following Jesus. When we faithfully gather with other believers, our kids learn the value of community. Right now, in the midst of a global pandemic, you may feel far away from community. But even the simple rhythm of pausing to connect with God every Sunday at home will keep your kids and your whole family grounded as you abide in Christ.
Even under normal circumstances, it can be hard to find a good church. Churches are filled with imperfect people, just like us. We get burned out and let down and then we hide away from God’s people. I get it. I truly do. Take a break if you need to then ask God for the grace to get back into community. Find a place, however imperfect, where your kids (and you) can grow. Then take what you learn on Sunday mornings and carry it into your conversations throughout the week.
It’s hard to be consistent when life is so unpredictable. When we rethink what faith-building and family devotions should look like, we find the freedom to develop a habit of DEVOTION that becomes a part of who we are, not just something we try to find time to do. Then consistency comes naturally instead of being the thing we strive for and can’t ever seem to accomplish.
And this is the kind of family DEVOTION that lasts.