God takes teaching our kids seriously. Very seriously. God has made it clear that it’s the parents’ job to teach their kids the faith. Regularly! In Deuteronomy 6 (“D6”, if you’re cool…like me), God connects the dots for the whole day. Whether we’re going to sleep or waking up, at home or going somewhere (“walk by the way”), we should be teaching our kids what God has taught us. See the pattern? We are taught, so we teach our kids, who then teach their kids, and so on. Pretty solid plan for keeping the faith strong across time!
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Today, let’s drill down on “walk by the way.” Back in Old Testament times, people walked everywhere they needed to go. God wanted parents to use that time for His glory. Running errands was no reason to put your teaching on hold, and that’s still true. Our version of “walk by the way” is the minivan time with the kiddos. Here are eight ways to take back your drive time, with tips. We’re minivanning for Jesus!
(This post contains affiliate links. As always, this in no way affects my recommendations, and it doesn’t cost you a thing!)
1. Listen to–and sing along with–praise music.
Be sure to mix up the music every now and then so the singing doesn’t become rote.
Encourage motions to the songs, which kids love. And if you are a special kind of patient (crowns in heaven, crowns in heaven…) allow simple musical instruments in your car to add another layer.
Look for songs that your kids can understand and learn at their level. That means changing up the playlist as they get older. If you have kids at different ages, enlist the older kid(s) to model praising God for the younger sibling(s). Go ahead and play the younger music, and when your little ones see the older ones singing, being joyful, and enjoying praise, it will have a big impact. Have you ever met a little brother who didn’t want to be just like his big brother
2. Practice memorizing Scripture.
If your child has a memory verse from church or school, perfect! If not, choose verses on your own or use a suggested list. (You can get mine here.)
A great way for your child to know Scripture is to teach it to you, so ask her to teach you her memory verse! Even if you already know it, play along.
Consider keeping a printout of your verses right in the car.
If you have songs to help memorize verses, by all means, play those during this time.
As kids get older, use this memorization time to springboard into discussions of the verses themselves.
If you need more tips (like, a lot of tips) on helping kids memorize Scripture, check out this post.
3. Talk about what’s going on at church.
Ask about the last Sunday School lesson, or what they thought of last week’s sermon. Was there a new song they really liked? Who are their best friends at church? What can they tell me about their teacher? Ask questions like, “There’s a family mission trip coming up- Are you ready to think about doing that?”
You get the idea. The point is to avoid having church and home be separate entities.
What a perfect time to pray together. Prayers can be short or long, and prayed by you or your child. Plus, they give you a chance to model prayer to your child. For more on praying with your child, read this series.
5. Listen to audio devotionals.
The good news is that you can readily find these for every age level. I wish we’d had these when my kids were little. Boy, there’s some good stuff! Here are some examples:
And lots more!
6. Here’s a crazy idea–Listen to the Bible!
I know, it was right there in front of us all along! There are some great ways to listen to the Bible in the car, so choose one that’s a good fit for your family. You can choose which version you want, and whether or not you want different voices, dramatization, and sound effects. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Did you know that on Bible Gateway, you can listen to the text for free? It’s true! So just plug your audio jack into your phone, and have at it. Here’s a picture to show you where to find that feature.
For littles, there’s actually an audio version of The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories. We liked this Bible for our kids when they were very young, and it was a good bridge to starting them on the actual Bible.
I am head over heels for the Word of Promise: Complete Audio Bible. I ponied up and bought the whole thing! Besides music and Michael York as the main narrator, there are literally hundreds of actors bringing the pages to life, including Jim Cavaziel, Jason Alexander, Marisa Tomei, Stacy Keach, and Gary Sinise.
Wanna go old school? How about James Earl Jones reading the King James Version? It’s hard to think of anything more noble sounding than that. Check it out–James Earl Jones Reads the Bible (The New Testament).
For Older Kids
The next two are for your older kids. You can do any one of the above with your kids, no matter how old they are, but here are a few that require a little more maturity. Don’t give up D6’ing your drive time just because the kids get older. Get them off their phones and engaged!
7. Talk about what God’s doing in their life, or the life of someone close to them.
These conversations teach your child to look at his life in the light of God’s purposes and work. It will also encourage them to look for God in their day-to-day life. It builds discernment, and it builds faith.
8. Listen to sermons, and discuss them.
Finding good sermons to listen to in the car is easy. There are podcasts (I recommend something like Alistair Begg’s Truth for Life) in addition to so many churches now having their sermons online. If you’re fairly young in your own faith, ask for a little help in choosing a pastor for this. There’s a lot of bad stuff out there, too.
Okay, Mom, the keys are in your hand!
Are you fired up? So many great ways to redeem your minivan time for the Lord! And you can mix it up to keep things fun for all of you. Just imagine if you did these things for just one month, how much could you pour into your child’s seeds of faith? Train up those children in the way they should go as you “walk by the way,” and have a great time doing it!