I wonder how the Christian faith was passed on to you? Did you read Bible stories together at home? How did your parents encourage you to pray? Was God ever mentioned in everyday life?
All current research on faith development affirms that if faith isn’t passed on, lived out and nurtured in the home, we can’t then reasonably expect children and grandchildren to catch that faith. For too long, particularly in the Protestant Church, we have over-relied on our Sunday worship as the key way to pass on the good news to the next generation. But how on earth can 40 minutes of Sunday school once a week and the occasional family service ever be expected to nurture a deep and real encounter with God for our children? Unless we experience God’s presence in the everyday of our weekday lives, faith is highly likely to remain sheltered, shallow and vulnerable.
BRF’s Faith in Homes ministry with its website, Facebook page and books, has been building on these insights for some years now and in partnership with others has sought to put faith nurture back in the hands of parents and carers. The publication this autumn of The Barnabas Family Bible will be a huge help in this respect. For each of its 110 key Bible stories there is a wealth of support material designed to equip parents and carers to explore those stories creatively with children in the home environment. There are suggestions for family activities, ideas for prayer and visual aids, as well as a short commentary on each passage that applies its teaching to the cut and thrust of family life today. As such it will be an invaluable resource to those parents and carers who long to help their children enjoy the Bible and who also, along with their children, want to hear how God can speak to them and be with them seven days a week.
This new publication from BRF also contains helpful guidelines for parents and carers about passing on our faith within the family, on topics such as prayer, reading the Bible together and handling difficult questions. It will also, we believe, prove to be a really useful tool for leaders of all-age worship who are looking for inspiration to bring Bible stories to life when children are present in services.
Moses advised all the people of God to talk about his laws together and ‘to tell them to your children over and over again; to talk about them all the time, whether you’re at home or walking on the road or going to bed at night or getting up in the morning’ (Deuteronomy 6:7). This is the way to pass on our Christian faith – not necessarily needing to find more hours in an already overstretched schedule but to find God in your existing life pattern; to find God in the everyday and The Barnabas Family Bible offers to help parents and children today to do just that.