If your children attend public or private schools, it is not uncommon for them to encounter situations where others disagree about their faith. As a parent, one of your most significant responsibilities is equipping your children to defend their faith. Parents must engage in open, honest, and compassionate conversations with their children about these topics.
This blog aims to help parents equip their children to protect their hearts and minds while maintaining their convictions when facing adversity as they head back to school.
4 Ways to Equip Your Children to Defend Their Faith
As parents, you are responsible for being the biblical leaders of your home and shepherding your children’s hearts. We are here to equip you with practical tools for preparing your children to face the growing animosity toward their beliefs. We have outlined four lessons you should teach your children as they return to school.
– Teach Them to Use Questions More Than Statements
You should drive home with them the idea that statements arm people, but questions disarm. Comments like “I don’t agree with that” or “That’s not true” will quickly create a desire in the other person to fight back. Instead, you should teach your children to ask questions or make leading statements that allow the other person to state their case and, hopefully, be more willing to hear the other side. Here are a few questions you can share with your children, equipping them to defend their faith:
- How did you come to that conclusion?
- What makes you believe that is true?
- Can you tell me more about that?
– Teach Them How to Respond When Others Question Their Faith
Help your children develop the ability to engage in respectful disagreements with peers and teachers who have different beliefs. Remind them to correct those opposing them with humility, gentleness, grace, and truth (see 2 Timothy 2:22-25). Teach your children to pray and seek God’s guidance whenever they feel overwhelmed by a challenging conversation or situation. When your children believe that the Word of God is infallible, powerful, and trustworthy, they can stand confidently in the face of opposition.
– Teach Them Where Their Identity Comes From
Show your children how to affirm their love for their homosexual friends without condoning their lifestyle. You and your child will have to decide what that looks like on a situational basis prayerfully. Teach your children that whose they are determines who they are. If they are born-again sons and daughters of Christ, they know their identity comes from Him and not from anything their peers say.
– Teach Them That Their Environment Does Not Define Them
It can be intimidating for children to swim against the current, especially when they may encounter hostility from peers and teachers. Remind them they have the power to live set-apart lives by choosing not to listen to secular music, cuss, dress inappropriately, or engage in other activities their friends may be doing that do not honor Christ. They may feel lonely for a season, but encourage them to pray for like-minded friends who will encourage and build them up in living set apart.
What the Bible Says About Training Your Children
God’s Word contains several verses about the importance of training up and equipping your children to defend their faith while they live under your roof. Obeying the call on your life as a parent doesn’t guarantee your children will walk with the Lord their whole life, but it is the best way to honor the Lord with the job He has given you.
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”—Joshua 24:15
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”—Proverbs 3:5-6
“…pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth…” -—2 Timothy 2:22-25
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
—1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”—Ephesians 6:4
Reminders For Parents
As you prepare your children to go back to school, take a moment to reflect on these reminders and steps to take to equip them to navigate challenging conversations.
Training Starts in the Home
Proverbs 22:6 reminds us to train up a child in the way he should go. Parents are responsible for training their children to know what the Word of God says about sin and dealing with conflict. You should be the first person your child hears these things from. Let your home be a safe space to discuss these topics, roleplay challenging scenarios, and learn how to engage with others.
Encourage Your Children to Spend Personal Time with God
John 15:5 says that those who abide in Christ will bear much fruit. If you have young children, spend daily time doing a devotion and praying with them. Starting this habit young will help them develop a discipline that continues into adulthood. As your children mature, equip them with verses to support their beliefs and teach them how to apply Scripture to their lives.
Use Trusted Resources to Answer Their Questions
Your children will inevitably bring home challenging questions from encounters with friends. Don’t be afraid to admit it if you don’t have an answer! Here are some resources you can use if you are unsure how to answer their questions:
- Blue Letter Bible
- Focus on the Family
- Answers in Genesis
- Abundant Life Family Podcast
Give Your Kids Tools to Share Their Faith
Eventually, your children will need to take ownership of sharing their faith. These tools will give them the confidence to share boldly at school, work, sports activities, and anywhere else:
- My SharePal
My SharePal is an app that guides you step by step through sharing the Gospel. The app gives you verses and prompts to help others understand the Gospel and its importance.
- Join a First Priority Club
First Priority exists to equip students to share the Gospel with their friends. They have clubs established at high schools nationwide where your high school or middle school student can find community and encouragement with like-minded believers.
- Evangelism Training at Abundant Life
We offer online evangelism training videos on our website. The video training equips you to start Gospel conversations with the people in your life who don’t know the Lord.
Further Resources for Equipping Your Children to Defend Their Faith
Sharing the gospel at school with friends from different backgrounds can be challenging for children. As parents, we are responsible for equipping them with the tools they need to face these challenges with empathy, understanding, and respect. By fostering open communication, grounding their identity, and actively training them to know and love God, you can guide your children toward becoming bold, compassionate, and confident witnesses. You can visit any of these resources for further helpful tools to build Gospel clarity, disciple your children, and have conversations about tough topics to help your children take ownership of their faith:
- Castles sermon series & curriculum
- Family Ministry page
- RightNow Media
- “Let’s Talk About It” YouTube series
- The Bible Project