Faith Talks: Sharing God’s Truth With Your Children
About the Guest
Are you intentionally teaching your children about God? Pastor Brian Haynes exhorts parents to become their children's primary faith trainer. Brian shares how his own mother's faith legacy is being passed down through generations of his own family.
Bay Area Church in League City, Texas. His passion is to help people, families, and churches thrive for the glory of Christ and the expansion of His kingdom. Brian is the creator of the Legacy Milestones strategy designed to inseparably link church and home to equip the generations. He is married to his high school sweetheart Angela and they have three daughters, Hailey, Madelyn, and Eden. Brian is a graduate o...more
Are you intentionally teaching your children about God?
Faith Talks: Sharing God’s Truth With Your Children
Bob: As Brian Haynes’ mother was dying, he remembers there was one question on her lips. One thing she really wanted to know; a question that marked him for life.
Brian: Her one question was “What have you done, or what have you taught your daughters—my grandchildren about the Bible lately?” I remember stopping and just thinking, because, I talk about Deuteronomy six all the time, the Shamah. “As we walk along the road, and as we lie down, and as we get up…” we have to talk to our kids. I just began to weep. I remember thinking, before I even ever heard the Shamah, my mom was praying into my life.
She was speaking into my life and my heart. She was doing that and in this moment she wanted to know that her faith was going to be a legacy into the next generation of my family. It was a clicking point for me. I really began to think, this legacy thing, where you come to the end of your life what matters is what you pass to the next generation.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday May 6th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey and I'm Bob Lepine. How much time have you spent recently focusing in on what is your most important assignment as a parent? Passing on a legacy of spiritual vitality to your children. We’ll talk about that today.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. One of the things we’ve talked about many times here on FamilyLife Today is the need for there to be—I’m going to use a big word—symbiotic. There needs to be a symbiotic relationship between the family and the local church. Do you like that word? “Symbiotic.”
Brian: Great word.
Dennis: It is a great word.
Bob: It is a great word. Now, are you going, “But what exactly does it mean?” Symbiotic…
Dennis: Now, I know what it means!
Bob: I’m sorry.
Dennis: It means that you grow off of each other. Right?
Bob: That’s exactly right.
Dennis: It’s a highly professional definition too.
Brian: That’s good.
Dennis: You know what, I can think of another symbiotic relationship. It’s the relationship we have here at FamilyLife Today with the folks who are taking advantage of this month’s matching gift opportunity.
Bob: That’s right. We’ve had some folks who have come to us this month and they have made pledges to a matching gift fund. They’ve agreed that every donation we receive this month, they’ll match it dollar-for-dollar up to a total of, now more than $300,000 that’s been pledged to the fund.
But, unless we hear from listeners these folks who have made the pledges aren’t going to have to fulfill on their pledges. So, we need as many listeners as possible to go to FamilyLifeToday.com and make a donation online. Or to call us at 1-800-FLTODAY and make a donation during the month of May.
Dennis: That’s right. Folks who give right now will see their gift doubled and really that establishes a relationship between us here at FamilyLife Today and the giver. And, that is symbiotic.
Bob: Well, obviously we benefit because the funds we receive from listeners are what keep us on the air on this station and help cover the costs of producing and syndicating the radio program. But, how exactly does the listener benefit?
Dennis: The listener hopefully benefits by getting great content, biblical principles, and getting a lot of practical application here every day. So that really is a symbiotic relationship, but only if you call. Not you Bob. The listener.
Bob: I guess I could call, too. 1-800-FLTODAY is the number to call, or you can donate online at FamilyLifeToday.com. Keep in mind, your donations are doubled during the month of May and we do hope to hear from you. We want to say thanks in advance for whatever you’re able to do to help us support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. We appreciate the partnership that we enjoy with listeners who make donations.
Now, what started all of this was talking about the symbiotic relationship between the local church and the family to promote discipleship in the home. We really believe that families and churches need to think together about some fresh ways in which that can happen.
Dennis: They do. In fact, if there’s ever been a time for the church and for the Christian community—and by that I mean, individual followers of Christ to be rethinking how we’re reaching out to the next generation—it’s today. Because, that generation is not the same generation. This is one of those things where you teenagers might say, “Duh Dad! Duh!”
But it isn’t. It’s a different generation that has different needs. It needs to be approached differently. But, hear me on this; it needs to be approached biblically. Unapologetically with the unchanging truth of scripture. We’ve got someone here in the studio who can help us do that. Brian Haynes joins us. Brian, welcome to FamilyLife Today.
Brian: Thank you so much!
Dennis: Brian lives down near Houston in Katy, Texas.
Dennis: He’s a graduate of Baylor and is the Spiritual Formation Pastor at Kingsland Baptist Church. You’ve been there since 2003.
Brian: Yes. Going on six years.
Bob: Hang on, “Spiritual Formation Pastor”?
Bob: What does that mean you do?
Brian: I came there as Marriage and Family Pastor. As we began to flesh out our ministry we realized we couldn’t separate it from discipleship.
Bob: I’m intrigued by what you say there. You came to do marriage and family and realized that discipleship is integral to that. Just unpack that a little bit for us.
Brian: As I went to scripture and looked for answer to “What does family ministry look like in the scripture?” I could not separate it from discipleship. I began to see the process of spiritual formation or discipleship is this two sided coin. One is discipleship that takes place at church on campus through the ministries of the church. The other being, and equally as important, what takes place in the home through family as parents being the primary faith influencer, or faith trainer.
So to me I couldn’t separate the two. Relating back to your earlier question, that’s why my title became this spiritual formation thing. Because it really is just a formation process that involves church and home.
Dennis: So, you wrote a book called Shift. It’s really an exposé of what it’s going to take to finally reach families today. You’re not talking about just reaching families in the church either. Are you?
Brian: No, I’m talking about reaching families in the culture. My desire, my hope, my prayer is to see God do something different through the practice of church leaders to drive discipleship into the home. I have this theory; it’s a premise of mine. It just goes like this: all the research out there tends to show that kids walk away from their faith at 18 years old and really they’re not coming back at this point. Why is that? I see that we have the greatest student ministries, the greatest kids’ ministries, the greatest resources of all time in American ecclesiology.
Still they’re walking away. So what’s the missing link? What’s the missing piece? As I look at scripture, I go back to Deuteronomy 6 and I think it’s got to be family. As a pastor I only have that generation 2% of their life. But at home, we have a great opportunity to influence and impact a large percentage of how they live every day.
Dennis: You write in your book that one of the “Aha!”s for you came about really through an unexpected encounter with your parents. Who came all the way from North Carolina to Houston to have a conversation with you.
Brian: Yes. I lost my mom this past year. She passed away quickly from inoperable brain cancer. In the process of that my brother and I decided we were going to have this no-regrets policy. We were going to say everything to Mom we wanted to say before she passed away, and we had a couple of days to do that.
We sat down and we began to pour out our hearts to her. Everything from what mattered when we were kids. I remember her homemade popsicles popped into my head. I started weeping over homemade popsicles. We bantered about some things that mattered; including her legacy in our life: the faith in Christ that she passed down to us.
We got done and her one question was, “What have you done, or what have you taught your daughters—my grandchildren about the Bible lately?” I remember stopping and just thinking. Because I talk about Deuteronomy 6 all the time—the Shamah. “As we walk along the road and as we lie down and as we get up…” we have to talk to our kids. I just began to weep.
I remember thinking, before I ever heard the Shamah, my mom was praying into my life. She was speaking into my life and my heart. She was doing that. In this moment she wanted to know that her faith was going to be a legacy into the next generation of my family. It was a clicking point for me. I really began to think, this legacy thing, when you come to the end of your life, what matters is what you pass to the next generation.
Bob: Now, you work as a pastor at a local church. So, not only are you supposed to be doing this as a daddy, but this is a part of your job description. You have your doctorate of ministry from Liberty University right?
Bob: I guess the question is, I think there are a lot of folks who don’t have their doctorate of ministry. They never went to a Bible college. They are daddies and mommies and they’re thinking, “OK I know I’m supposed to do that, too. But I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to do.”
What you’re trying to do at your church is say, “We recognize that’s the reality for a lot of parents, and we want to come alongside and help you have the confidence and the skill to know what to do in that Deuteronomy 6, every day walk along the way, environment where you find yourself.”
Brian: Right. I’ll say two things. One is seminary degrees, I’ve learned, help me zero when it comes to being a dad and husband and all that kind of thing practically. So I tell them all the time, I’m in the same boat you are. I’m trying to figure this thing out as we go along here.
But at the same time, at church, we are working hard to develop a common path between church and homes. So that what parents say to their kids the moments that they capture and speak Bible into the lives of their kids, we are echoing at church. What we’re doing is giving parents a roadmap, and they’re all over it. One of the huge obstacles is, “I just don’t feel like I know what to do. I don’t understand what even the next step is. What do I do?”
Bob: “I didn’t see it growing up in my own home.” Or, “I just don’t have a model.”
Dennis: Or, “I’ve heard all the Bible teaching I’ve been in church for all my childhood and adult life, yet no one has condensed down for me and put it in a practical workable form.” You believe the place to begin is authenticity?
Brian: I do.
Dennis: Explain that to our listeners. Because, I think there are some who are listening to us right now, Bob and they’re going, “Well you’ve clearly established where I am. Where do I start?”
Brian: Well, I do believe it begins with authenticity. This goes back to the idea of model. No matter what I do in my house to formally train my kids spiritually, if I don’t authentically walk with Christ in front of them, they get no picture of what that looks like. I’ve got to walk with them on the great days and on the horrible days when my mom is in the hospital dying; I have to walk with Christ in front of them, and all the days in between.
It does not mean it has to be perfect. It means is needs to be authentic. Sometimes that means the gamut of emotions, honestly. But it means always that we turn to the Lord in prayer and scripture for guidance and where to go next. So I want my kids to see, I don’t think I know the way, but authentically and genuinely I’m going to follow Christ because I know he does.
Bob: I think you’re making a great point here. It’s one that, as I look back on raising my kids, I’m not sure we did this well. When we think about modeling the Christian life for our kids, what I tend to think of is, “I want to put the good stuff on display, and keep the flaws in the closet.”
Well, you stop and think about that. If that’s what you display for your kids, then what you’re going to put on display for them is a model that’s a loftier picture than any of us can humanly attain.
If all they see is when mom and dad are doing it right and walking in victory and in the power of the Holy Spirit and everything is working well. And they think, well that’s the Christian life. Well, when they mess up, they’re going to go, “Something must be wrong with me because I messed up.” They need to see you unsure, lacking faith, messing up, seeking forgiveness, confessing your sins. Don’t they?
Brian: Yes. As they walk along the road, as we lie down, and as we get up; when you have good days and bad days, and all of that.
Bob: So, I want to go back, then to what you guys are doing as a church to help moms and dads live this out. Because again, we talked about that symbiotic relationship, how is your church trying to equip moms and dads to live out this authentic Christianity in their home?
Brian: We have created a common path made up of seven—what we call legacy milestones. They are just growth points along the way that we celebrate as kids reach them in their spiritual development. We want to teach some core competencies, some central truths into our kids’ lives; beginning at infancy all the way to high school graduation before they leave home.
So that they can live a life in Christ and we do that a number of ways. One primary way is that we teach parents to have faith-talks. “Faith-talks” is just our Kingsland word for family devotion. We say, “This is a formal platform that you need to set up in your home to speak the truth of God’s word into your child’s life.” The problem with that becomes, parents really don’t know how to have a faith-talk. They don’t know what to do.
We have to do a number of things, simple things like, when our pastor is preaching a sermon series on Philippians, like he is right now, he writes a faith-talk, sticks it in the worship guide every week and holds it up at the end and says, “Look, if you’re not having a faith-talk with your kids, and you’re not sure how to do it, you’ve heard the word of God today, it filled you up. Could you sit around your table and ask these four questions in an age-appropriate way to your kids?” We give them this entry level win. “Yes, I can ask four questions.”
Dennis: OK, give me an illustration of one where your pastor preached a sermon. You took the bulletin home and with your three daughters you did it. Tell us how it went.
Bob: And you’d better have an illustration here or the word is going to get around.
Brian: I do it my own way.
Dennis: I’ve got a feeling that he’ll have an illustration. But here’s what I don’t want. I don’t want the airbrushed illustration.
Dennis: Paint the picture of what the dinner table was like, if that’s where it occurred. Or the living room, and talk about what the kids were doing as you were attempting to have this faith-talk.
Brian: No problem. I have girls, ten, seven and two. So that makes it really interesting. Because, you’ve on the one hand a pre-adolescent, on the other hand you’ve got this two-year-old that’s doing two-year-old things. We are in the process right now of teaching the Lord’s Prayer.
We’re taking one phrase a night. “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be your name.” What does that mean? So we come together, we have music, Eden the two-year-old gets to pick the music, because we let her pick the music. No other reason than that.
Bob: So, what would she pick? What kind of a song?
Brian: Right now, she keeps going to this recorded VBS music that we have from two years ago, “Arctic Edge.”
Bob: She just loves those songs.
Brian: She wants to hear “Arctic Edge”. So, we’re dancing, we’re throwing kids in the air, and we’re just having a good time as a family in our family room. At the end of that, we sit down and we have the oldest one, the ten-year-old read the scripture, whatever the scripture is for the moment. Honestly the two-year-old tunes out right about here. She’s there, she’s a part of it, but she’s squirming, she’s got about three minutes and then she’s…
Bob: She wants to go back to “Arctic Edge.”
Brian: She does. I don’t know exactly what she’s overhearing and grasping, But the value for her, is she gets the discipline, that this is what we do in our family on Sunday nights. We sit down and we talk about the Word for practicality. So then, my wife and I talk about, what does “hallowed” mean? What is “holy”? What are then names of God? And, how do you pray this in your life? “Our Father in Heaven, holy is your name.”
Then we say to our seven-year-old, Madeline. “Madeline, you lead the prayer, but you have to pray this verse in your prayer, “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name.” And you have to praise God in that. So, we teach them how to do that and let her close in prayer.
All of that might be 20 minutes. But, what we’re finding is, our girls are memorizing scripture that way, they’re learning to pray that way in this particular instance.
Dennis: I’ll tell you what happened at our house. We had some faith-talks, we didn’t call them that, but it was the parents who were in time-out by the time it was over.
Brian: I’ve been there.
Dennis: I mean, seriously. Our kids would use peas and something would become a goal-post.
Bob: Green peas?
Dennis: Little peas, they would flip them during the deal. And, we had kids crawling under the table. Truthfully, what you’re saying here is so important, you just have to persevere. In fact Bob, I remember you and I interviewed Elisabeth Elliot and she talked about how these faith-talks—like you’re discussing—were the times where her father and mother taught her family hymns of the faith, taught them scriptures.
She found herself, many times as a girl having to endure those times as well. But, when she was older she tapped back in to the main stream of what we’re talking about here, and that’s growth. We’re talking about individuals growing up.
Brian: The difference is you can have a kid that grows up in a church and gets faith-talks with thirty other kids in rows, one day a week, or you can have kids that grow up in the church and also their family pours into them and they lose this compartmentalized view of Christianity that says, “It happens inside certain buildings on certain days of the week.” Instead it’s for the everyday of life. So, faith-talk is huge.
Dennis: I like how you summarize what you’re attempting to do. Because you’re talking about the church equipping families to grow spiritually which, in turn brings that spiritual growth back to the church. That becomes a symbiotic relationship. It really does work that way. I just think parents who are listening to us today, or for that matter couples, the question is where do you start? Where do you begin? For a couple, I’ve got a couple of devotionals that Barbara and I have written.
One, Moments Together for Couples, another, Moments With You, that can be a great place for a couple just to begin to practice the spiritual discipline of interacting around the scripture, but also talking about how it applies to their lives. Because, they may not be a part of a church like Kingsland there in Katy, Texas, so they are looking for ways they can practically do that. But every couple, every family needs to start somewhere.
Bob: Well, and I really like the way you have drawn the attention of parents and the attention of churches to these milestones that give us an opportunity for significant engagement. In fact, I have to tell you a story. A friend of mine, just recently he and his wife took their son who is five years old, and they had an overnight at a local hotel because mom is about to have a brand new baby.
So they had an initiation ceremony for this five-year-old preparing him for his new role as an older brother. They spent the weekend having fun, but also teaching him about what it is an older brother does. They gave him a walking stick that has knots in it. Each knot represents a different thing that an older brother does for a little sister.
It was a powerful moment, a teaching moment that these parents capitalized, it’s one of these milestones like you talk about. You talk about the birth of a baby, or about a faith commitment, or preparing for adolescence, or commitment to purity, passage into adulthood, high school graduation, all of these are milestone moments that we can capitalize on as parents and as churches spiritually.
You’ve outlined a way to do that in the book Shift, which we have in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. If our listeners are interested in getting a copy of this book to use as a family or to share with the church, go online at FamilyLifeToday.com and you’ll find the information there. Again, the title of the book is Shift. It’s by our guest, Brian Haynes. You can order a copy from us online, FamilyLifeToday.com. Or you can call 1-800-358-6329. 1-800 F as in “family” L as in “life” and then the word TODAY.
Quickly let me remind you of something Dennis mentioned at the beginning of today’s program, it’s the matching gift opportunity that has been made available to us during the month of May. We have a matching gift fund that was established and now more than $300,000 that has been pledged toward that matching gift fund. Every donation we receive during the month of May, that donation is going to be doubled. It’s going to be matched, dollar-for-dollar and we want to take full advantage of these pledges that have been made toward that matching gift fund.
So, we’re hoping to hear from as many listeners as possible, we want you to either go online at FamilyLifeToday.com and make a donation, or call 1-800-FLTODAY and make a donation over the phone. Keep in mind you make a $50 donation it becomes a $100 donation. You make $100 donation, it becomes a $200 donation. Help us take full advantage of the funds that are available in the matching gift fund. And we just want to say thanks in advance for your partnership with the ministry. We really appreciate you joining with us, and helping to support FamilyLife Today.
Tomorrow we’re going to continue to talk about ways that parents and churches can engage with children to have a significant spiritual impact in their lives. We’ll talk about that with our guest Brian Haynes, I hope you can back with us for that tomorrow.
I want to thank our engineer today Keith Lynch and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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