My kids like to play the Punch Buggy Game. Whenever someone sees a Volkswagen Beetle, he punches (gently!) the arm of someone else and says, “Punch Buggy! No give backs.” (That last part is important.) Here’s the curious thing about the game: When you play, Volkswagen Beetles suddenly appear all around you. OK, you know that isn’t true. The Beetles were there all along; you just didn’t pay attention to them and looked past them.
Sort of like God.
We know God is at work all around us everyday. Creation declares his glory (Ps. 19:1-6), and he makes the universe run—from planets moving, to rain falling, to every detail of our lives (Col. 1:17). So then why do we, as parents, often struggle to see him and talk with our kids about him?
Because, often, we aren’t looking for him. And so, we miss him.
Helping Your Kids See God
Here are four ways you can be more alert to God so you can have more gospel conversations with your kids:
Saturate your mind with the gospel.
Before we can fix our kids’ minds on the gospel, our minds need to be first. This is why our daily time in God’s Word is vital (Col 3:1-2). The more we read God’s Word, the more we will be able to help our kids do the same.
2. A Heart Matter
The next one is to want the gospel to move from our minds down into our hearts. Because when we love the gospel, we will find ourselves thinking about it more. We dwell, talk about, and pursue what we love, not just what we know. When the gospel stirs our affections, we will think about God more and end up seeing him at work around us more clearly.
Have structured times of talking about God with your kids. There is something profoundly sweet about having organic conversations about God with our kids. But we will likely miss out on these if we aren’t having regular, structured conversations about God too. Structured times prime the pump in our minds and our kids’ minds for those organic conversations at other times. They act as hangars holding what our kids are learning about God in front of them and us, always being within arms reach for us to start a conversation.
4. The Ultimate Goal
Aim for the gospel to rest on the minds, hearts, and hands of your kids. For many parents, just talking about God more would be a huge win. But that isn’t our goal. It’s a win, but not the win. We want the gospel to have the same effect on our kids as it does on us—to move from the mind into the heart and then overflow onto our hands in how we live. Focusing on the mind leads to knowing about God without knowing Him. Focusing on the heart leads to sentimentalism. Focusing on the hands leads to moralism. But focusing on all three leads to a meaningful, vibrant relationship with God.
About the Author
Brian Dembowczyk is the Managing Editor of The Gospel Project, a Bible study curriculum used by over one million people each week, and the author of Gospel-Centered Kids Ministry: How the Gospel Will Transform Your Kids, Your Church, Your Community, and the World. Before beginning work with The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, Brian served in local church ministry for seventeen years, primarily in family ministry and discipleship ministry.
Brian earned a D.Min. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He, his wife Tara, and their three children—Joshua, Hannah, and Caleb—live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.