Don’t Panic: A Step by Step Approach to Teaching Kids About God




By
Shanda
Fulbright 

It
never
fails.
When
churched
kids
hit
a
certain
age,
I
get
panicked
messages
from
parents.
They
usually
start
with,
“We’re
a
Christian
family,
but
my
son
doesn’t
want
to
go
to
church
anymore.
He
doesn’t
believe
in
God.”
Or,
“I
assumed
my
daughter
was
pro-life
but
she
just
told
me
women
have
the
right
to
choose.
How
can
this
be
when
we
are
a
pro-life
family?”

These
messages
never
come
when
the
child
is
8
or
9.
I
never
hear
about
an
11
year
old
struggling
to
believe
whether
or
not
the
Bible
is
true.
I’m
not
saying
it
doesn’t
happen,
I’m
just
saying
this
isn’t
the
age
where
parents
start
to
panic.

It’s
usually
around
the
time
our
kids
are
well
into
their
teenage
years
that
parents
begin
to
notice
our
kids
aren’t
on
board
with
the
whole
God,
Jesus,
and
the
Bible
stuff.
Why
does
it
take
so
long
to
realize
this?
There
are
two
main
factors.
First,
we
assume
that
because
our
kids
go
to
church,
they
are
adopting
the
beliefs
of
Christianity.
Second,
most
parents
aren’t
being
discipled,
so
it’s
impossible
to
catch
the
discrepancies
in
the
worldview
our
child
actually
has
compared
to
a
biblical
worldview
until
something
big
happens

like
the
approval
of
abortion
or
a
blatant
disbelief
in
God.

 



This
is
where
parents
hit
the
panic
button.

Is
there
hope
for
parents
whose
teenagers
are
about
to
walk
away
from
Christianity?
The
good
news:
as
long
as
we
have
Christ
there
is
always
hope.
The
reality:
it’s
not
going
to
be
as
easy
in
the
teen
years
as
it
would
have
been
to
teach
them
when
they
were
younger.
It
will
take
diligence,
and
if
diligence
is
what’s
been
missing
all
along,
be
diligent
now.

The
question
is,
what
does
diligent
teaching
look
like
in
the
21st
century?

Learning
is
a
layered
process.That
means
we
must
transfer
knowledge
strategically,
layer
by
layer.
There
has
to
be
a
foundation
laid
and
basic
knowledge
taught
before
anyone
can
understand
larger
concepts.
This
goes
for
students
of
any
age.
If
we
skip
the
foundation,
there
will
be
a
gap
in
knowledge.
In
Christianity,
the
gap
in
knowledge
is
evident
when
Christians
lack
a
biblical
worldview.
By
the
time
parents
hear
their
kids
expressing
a
disbelief
in
God,
the
gap
is
already
there
and
it’s
likely
because
they
skipped
the
foundational
stage.

So,
let’s
discuss
the
three
basic
stages
in
the
layered
process
of
learning,
no
matter
how
old
your
kids
are.
Keep
in
mind
that
there
are
recommended
age
groups
to
begin
each
stage,
but
if
you
are
just
beginning
to
disciple
your
kids,
this
is
the
process
from
beginning
to
end.

The
good
news
is
that
you
can
always
begin
at
any
stage,
depending
on
where
you
left
off.
And
if
you
have
been
doing
this
all
along,
keep
plugging
away
knowing
that
in
due
time
you
will
reap
a
harvest
(Gal
6:9).

 



Foundational
stage:
God’s
Word
(suggested
age

birth
to
primary)

The
path
to
a
biblical
worldview
begins
with
biblical
literacy.
The
Bible
talks
about
the
word
of
God
as
the
foundation
on
which
to
build
(Matt
7:24-27).
It
also
refers
to
the
word
of
God
as
spiritual
food.
It
is
a
necessity
of
life
that
all
who
follow
the
Lord
must
implement
into
their
daily
walk.
But
we
can’t
expect
our
kids
to
do
this
without
help.

The
approach
we
take
to
teaching
our
children
is
important
because
how
we
present
the
word
of
God
will
determine
how
they
view
the
word
of
God.
Is
it
important
to
you?
Then
it
will
be
important
to
them.
Do
you
believe
it
is
the
infallible
word
of
God?
Then
they
will
too.
If
you
present
it
as
stories
instead
of
historical
narratives,
then
they
will
view
it
as
a
fictional
story
thrown
into
their
bedtime
routine.
The
language
we
use
when
we
talk
to
our
kids
about
God
and
His
word
matters.
So
present
the
word
as
a
necessity,
not
as
an
option.

 



Connection
Stage:
God’s
World
(suggested
age

adolescent
to
preteen)

When
we
teach
apologetics
to
Christians,
we
must
take
a
different
approach
than
when
we
use
apologetics
to
defend
our
faith
with
a
secular
audience.
Middle
schoolers
must
begin
to
make
the
connection
that
God’s
word
and
God’s
world
are
not
in
conflict.
We
will
only
be
successful
at
adding
this
layer
to
our
children’s
learning
if
we
laid
the
foundation
of
biblical
literacy
during
the
first
stage.

What
happens
if
we
didn’t?
The
good
news
is
that
we
can
start
now.
Weave
biblical
truths
into
your
instruction
so
that
the
apologetics
concepts
are
tethered
to
Scripture.
For
example,
kids
need
to
know
God’s
nature
of
goodness
in
order
to
understand
why
He
is
the
moral
law-giver.
Do
a
study
on
God’s
attributes
before
you
study
the
apologetics
arguments.
This
will
help
fill-in
the
biblical
literacy
gaps
missed
in
stage
one.
Just
remember

saturate
them
with
the
word
of
God
in
every
stage,
not
just
the
first
stage.
The
word
of
God
is
at
the
core
of
Christian
education.

It’s
imperative
that
we
ensure
our
middle
schoolers
see
how
God’s
word
and
God’s
world
connect.
Scientific
evidence
that
points
to
God’s
existence
supported
by
biblical
truths
accomplishes
this.
This
is
where
the
Cosmological
and
Design
Arguments
come
in
handy.
If
we
don’t
help
middle
schoolers
connect
the
word
with
the
world,
it’s
likely
they’re
already
questioning
the
validity
of
one
and
where
they
fit
into
the
other.

 



Action
Stage:
Live
God’s
word
in
God’s
world
(suggested
age

teens
to
adult) 

How
we
view
the
world
affects
how
we
live.
At
this
stage,
it
is
important
to
help
your
teens
make
the
connection
between
the
word
of
God
and
how
it
applies
to
the
issues
of
life.
In
other
words,
get
comfortable
with
having
uncomfortable
conversations.

It
is
the
goal
to
get
them
to
this
stage
with
a
biblical
worldview
so
that
they
draw
from
biblical
truths
when
looking
for
the
answers
to
life’s
questions.
Students
who
have
been
discipled
and
understand
why
there
are
good
reasons
to
believe
Christianity
is
true
will
begin
to
connect
knowledge
of
God
and
His
word
to
the
understanding
of
God
and
His
word,
and
live
for
God
by
His
word.
In
fact,
this
is
where
the
evidence
of
a
biblical
worldview
is
seen
in
the
life
of
our
kids.
When
the
knowledge
of
all
they’ve
learned
leads
them
to
an
understanding
of
it,
they
are
able
to
live
it.
And
that’s
how
we
know
what
someone
truly
believes.

All
too
often,
Christians
compartmentalize
the
Bible
and
separate
it
from
the
real
world.
We
must
be
willing
to
bring
real
world
issues
into
our
conversations
with
our
teens. 
But
I
caution
you
not
to
wait
for
your
teen
to
come
to
you.
Open
the
door
to
hard
conversations
about
gender
and
sexuality,
abortion,
co-habitation,
and
all
of
the
hot-button
topics
that
make
parents
cringe.
Trust
me.
Once
you
get
used
to
having
hard
conversations
they
won’t
be
so
hard
anymore
and
you
will
help
your
teen
live
the
word
in
the
world.

 



Successful
parents
have
this
in
common

If
you
find
your
kids
are
older
and
they’re
beyond
the
first
and
second
stages
suggested
here,
don’t
panic.
As
I
said
before,
as
long
as
Jesus
is
in
the
equation
there
is
always
hope.
However,
the
stages
of
teaching
a
biblical
worldview
don’t
change:

First,
lay
the
foundation
of
biblical
literacy:
God’s
word.

Next,
add
the
building
block
of
apologetics:
God’s
world.

Finally,
teach
them
to
apply
it:
live
the
word
in
God’s
world.

For
those
parents
who
are
wondering
if
the
opportunity
to
teach
your
kids
has
passed
you
by,
I
want
to
offer
some
encouragement.
You
are
the
most
influential
person
in
your
child’s
life
and
that
will
never
change.
Use
that
influence
to
go
back
and
make
up
the
ground
you
think
you’ve
lost.
Because
as
I’ve
said
before,
with
Christ
it
is
never
too
late.

It
is
our
job
as
parents
to
make
sure
we
do
all
we
can
to
raise
godly
men
and
women.
Our
culture
looks
different
today
than
the
cultures
before
us,
but
the
biblical
mandate
to
parents
has
always
been
the
same.
God
calls
us
to
be
diligent,
and
parents
must
answer
the
call.



Recommended
resources
related
to
the
topic:

Proverbs:
Making
Your
Paths
Straight
Complete
9-part
Series
by
Frank
Turek

DVD

and

Download

God’s
Crime
Scene
for
Kids
by
J.
Warner
Wallace
and
Susie
Wallace
(Book)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Shanda
Fulbright
is
a
credentialed
teacher
and
has
a
certificate
in
Christian
Apologetics
from
Biola
University,
a
certificate
from
the
CrossExamined
Instructor’s
Academy
as
well
as
several
certificates
from
Online
Christian
Courses.
She
hosts
Her
Faith
Inspires
podcast
where
she
takes
cultural
issues
and
aligns
them
to
biblical
truth.
You
can
read
her
blogs
and
find
out
more
about
her
at

shandafulbright.com