Resources To Use When Building Young Adult Christians Who Can Stand Firm
One good thing about living in this day and age is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. So don’t try to. Home discipleship is doable.
In the last article we talked about simple principles for home discipleship that serve to make the task manageable and doable.
One of those tips was to use resources that already exist, rather than creating content yourself. This alone chops the task down to size--you don’t have to have incredibly deep reflections that you create from your own mind that you then share with a mesmerized family that is amazed at your insight.
Other people get paid to do that. So use their stuff.
Here are over 13 resources for your family discipleship toolkit:
First Catechism is one that we used when our girls were really little, to teach them doctrine. The concept is simple: you ask the question, and then teach them the word for word answer. Help them memorize the answer. Afterwards, when you say the question, they repeat the answer to you.
This might seem trite and simplistic, but memorization is how kids learn in the early years and is therefore completely appropriate for their development level.
Some of the questions might be too abstract for you, or you might not agree with them doctrinally (they lean more towards the Calvinistic end of theology). That’s ok. Pick the ones your family agrees with and stick with those.
When they get older in a few years, you can then go on to teach them the deeper significance of the doctrine. For now, memorization is just fine. You are filling their mind with the bricks you will use later to build a solid worldview house that can withstand the waves.
2) Family Devotional Books
There are a ton of these out there, but here are two that have served us well:
The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New
Our kids still remember many of these lessons even after 3-4 years (they are still relatively young…we will see if they still remember them in their adult years!). Wonderful illustrations coupled with age-appropriate theology. The Machowskis break down abstract concepts into language kids can understand.
Reading 1-2 per night at the dinner table is time well invested.
Big Beliefs, Small Devotionals
Slightly more complex, but still understandable for young minds. Good discussion questions, all based on the Westminster Catechism of Faith.
3) Dr. Craig’s “What Is God Like?” Children’s Books
William Lane Craig breaks highly abstract, yet foundational theological concepts down in story format for children. Each book in the series explains one attribute of God by portraying a conversation between a father bear, mother goose, and their children.
Yes the doctrines are abstract, but that doesn’t mean kids don’t need this kind of teaching.
NOTE: be sure to get the series by William Lane Craig. There are a few other books titled “What Is God Like” that might or might not be doctrinally sound.
4) Classical Literature Lists
Do you want to dive into the great literature with your kids but not know where to start? Here are two lists, both divided by age/grade:
Amblesideonline. AO provides a year by year list of great lit to read to kids, and the organization provides link access to some sources for free online. Find your year by clicking on “By Year” at the top, and then scroll down to sections like “Literature,” “Poetry,” and “Additional Books For Free Reading.”
Gospel Coalition’s Lit List For Grades 1-8. Self-explanatory. Some great options for you.
5) Shakespeare Adaptations For Kids
Project Gutenberg provides free access to adaptations of several Shakespeare plays. Read them to your kids when they are young so you can whet their appetite for the real thing when they get older.
Shakespeare is second only to the Bible when it comes to understanding human nature. He has our number.
6) Trailblazer’s Biographies
These biographies give kids a glimpse of some heroes of the faith. They get to hear about real flesh and blood brothers and sisters in the Lord who sacrificed greatly for the Kingdom, all for joy.
NOTE: like with Dr. Craig’s “What Is God Like” series above, this too goes by a common name--Trail Blazers. Be sure to get the books with the logo and cover pictured in the link. Some books labeled “Trail Blazers” are from other companies who write biographies not aimed at a Christian audience.
7) Voice Of The Martyrs Magazine
We sometimes read articles from this free magazine to give our kids a sense of what Christians in other countries go through, and to connect them to the global body of Christ. We have brothers and sisters of every tribe, tongue, and nation, most of who do not at all live like Western Americans, and these articles drive that home.
8) Stand To Reason Youtube Channel
Seriously, thank God for Youtube. I know sometimes the internet and especially social media gets a (mostly justified) bad rap for all its ills, but there are some good things it’s brought us too. One of those good things is that it has brought us access to minds of the smartest people out there, all for free, at the click of a button.
STR is an apologetics organization devoted to “Clear Thinking Christianity.” Their youtube page is awesome. Some videos are long, but some are bite sized and short, perfect for a family dinner discussion time. Pick one, watch it, then discuss it.
As mentioned elsewhere, our rule of thumb for our family discussions is that our daughters must make either one comment or question. They can do more, but at least that much. They struggled at first, but it soon became the norm.
9) Red Pen Logic With Mr. B
This site is first rate! Stand To Reason’s Tim Barnett takes on bad arguments shared on social media about various issues connected to Christianity. These arguments can intimidate many, but Barnett does a great job breaking them down in short, accessible videos and graphics. Fun too! Great for family dinner times. He is on Facebook and TikTok as well.
10) Daniel Collaborative Socratic Questions List
This is a resource for parents looking to teach their children through questions. Many, present company included, sometimes struggle with how to disciple their kids without resorting to sermonizing or lecturing, and reaching them on deep issues in a conversational way, that teaches them “how to think” in addition to “what to think.”
If you can get them to come to the truth themselves in dialogue rather than monologue, sometimes those lessons “stick” better.
11) Sean McDowell Youtube Channel
McDowell is a professor of apologetics at Biola University, and he teaches apologetics at the high school level too. Some videos on this channel are long form interviews, while some are shorter videos devoted to answering challenges. Always thought provoking, addressing current topics that challenge youth and adult alike.
12) Fallacy Detective Book
There is a plethora of bad reasoning out there. It’s a crazy world. This book is a collection of lessons to help kids and young adults recognize bad reasoning. The lessons are fun and young kids in elementary school can grasp most of it, yet older kids even in high school can get something out of it too.
13) More Resources To Teach Logic And Critical Thinking
These resources are more appropriate for older kids, middle school and above. The good part is that the lessons are chunked so that you can cover them with limited time in small bits
Learning Logic With William Lane Craig
Classical University Press logic books
An Illustrated Book Of Bad Arguments
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