The other day I was at a Q&A session and somebody asked, how can I get my teenager to read their Bible?
My response was, ”You can't!”
By the time your kids are teenagers there are some things you just can't make them do. And if you try it will probably just provoke anger and not a love for God. Ephesians 6:4 tells us "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord."
So what do you do if you have teenage kids and you want them to have a heart for God?
First, I would say to make sure they are in church. It is important to have Christian leaders around them that they love and respect and want to follow. They need people in their lives that will teach them how to read the scripture and to live a life for God. Get them involved in a student connect group. Get them serving on Sunday mornings. This generation is all about serving and helping people, so get them to a place where they can volunteer with their friends.
The church is a great place. We don't allow our kids to miss school, so why do we allow them to easily miss church?
Don't ever, ever, ever, ever, ever take church away as a punishment. That's what Satan wants you to do! Find other things to take away. Take away their sports activity, cell phone, or Friday night out with friends. But not church. The word of God is active and sharper than any two-edged sword. It's what changes a heart. Get them under the teaching of the word of God.
Second, model what it means to live a life that is fully surrendered to God. If you want them in a connect group then you get in a connect group. If you want them serving on the dream team then you serve on the dream team. If you want them passionate for God, then you model it for them. Teenagers don't want to be told what to do, they want to see what you say lines up with what you do.
So what can you do if you have younger children to teach them to have a heart for God? The Bible says to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Have a devotional book that you go through with them.
If they are learning to read, get an easy reader Bible and have them read the Bible to you.
Memorize a verse a week as a family.
Let them see you reading your Bible.
Pray with them. You are modeling for them how to pray.
The old saying may be "it takes a village to raise a child" but I say it takes a church to raise our kids to love and serve Jesus.
Let's change a generation for Christ and let's start with our generation. :)
You've got this,