5 Keys to Shaping the Faith of a Child

faith of a child

My greatest desire is to equip my children to handle whatever life throws at them. And from where I sit today, I have no idea what those challenges might be. So how do I give them a foundation to deal with a lifetime of highs and lows? I believe the answer is giving them a growing relationship with God.

So how do we do that? After all, a personal relationship with God is just that—highly personal. It’s nothing we can force or require. But like so many other parenting goals, we can influence our children greatly by modeling what we want them to embrace. Research shows that even when children who were raised in the church seemingly reject personal faith in adolescence or young adulthood, they tend to come full circle when they settle down and start families of their own. They default to what they know about how to do family life, making the homes they were raised in the greatest indicator of how they structure family life for themselves. If pursuing a relationship with God was a fundamental, everyday part of the home they grew up in, it likely will be in the one they establish.

And it’s not just about the distant future—your child needs a connection to God now to feel secure when life is uncertain. So what can you do today to influence your child in this department? Pay attention to these 5 keys to shaping the faith of a child.

1. You can shape the faith of a child through everyday disciplines.

There’s an old saying about how some things are taught, but many more things are “caught” or understood through observation. If your child sees you making time to attend church, read your Bible, and pray, he’ll likely see these things as a fundamental part of life. You don’t have to make a big show of it–in fact, you shouldn’t. Just take the time to do every day what’s most important, and it won’t be missed.

2. You can shape the faith of a child through key conversations.

Children are full of questions, and your answers are natural on-ramps to pointing out God’s presence in the world around them. From the beauty of creation to the way God opened the doors of your career, he plays a role in every single story. It’s just a matter of whether we remember to give him credit or not.

3. You can shape the faith of a child by displaying godly characteristics as a parent.

All of the church attendance, prayer, and Bible study your child sees you do won’t mean much if your words and attitudes in parenting don’t match up. Your patience, kindness and trustworthiness as a mom is the loudest testimony of God’s grace and the most likely to be caught by your child.

4. You can shape the faith of a child by living out your own faith.

Aside from the ways you live out your faith in the home, there are opportunities all around you to put feet on your belief system in front of your kids. Take them with you to volunteer serving others, or let them help bake a cake for a sick or elderly neighbor. Encourage them to look for opportunities to show God’s love to friends and family. Again, your actions will always trump your words.

5. You can shape the faith of a child by placing them in great environments. {Tweet This}

Look for environments that are designed to engage your children and help them learn about the God who created them and loves them. If your church doesn’t offer much for kids, check out other ministries in your area that do. Then be faithful and consistent in getting your children there to be influenced by the volunteers who know how to reach them. (If you’re unsure about taking your kids to church, look at these 10 Reasons to Give Church a Try.)

Let’s Talk: How do you help your child develop spiritually?


  • Chris

    Thank you! I often am plagued by the fear that I am not doing this right, your words this morning are sweet to me. They reinforce that living my life in a God-centered way is life coaching for my sons, and will be honored by God as they grow up. I will keep praying! There is so much in this world to distract all of us from our intimate relationship with God.

  • sue

    What a great reminder. I ponder whether kids view church as “Narnia”, when they come home to see their adults/parents live an entirely different life. We are being watched very closely by what we do, say, & fail to do or say. I will join Chris and keep praying! I pray for a revelation of Spirit among us today. Let each of us think wisely about our thoughts, words, & actions.

  • Emily Goddard

    I grew up in a Christian home, we went to church every week and were involved, I saw my mom praying and reading the Bible in the mornings, and I also went to a Christian school. I believe what a child sees in their home will be carried through into adulthood. I have a son and many of the same things I experienced in the faith as a child, I have carried into my adulthood. We attend church every week and stay involved, we volunteer and while my son isn’t quite old enough to help with much, I know he still sees it. He also started Kindergarten at the same Christian school I attended. It’s a blessing that we are able to send him there and I love talking with him about the Bible stories he learns in the classroom everyday. I also have been a part of #TheFives. A prayer group that commits to praying at 5am, 5 days a week for 5 weeks. My son doesn’t usually see me do this because he is still fast asleep but every so often he will wake up early and ask me what I’m doing. I tell him I’m praying and I pray that he will see the importance of prayer like I saw in my mom. Great tips above and great reminders not to give up no matter what age your kids are!