The “Nothing Less” Research was conducted to answer the question: “What can parents do now to affect their children’s spiritual health when they become adults?” In partnership with Lifeway Research, I set out to find the answer to this question. Secretly, I was hoping for a ‘magical’ formula that I as a mom could mix up and produce, making sure my kids would be faithful servants of Christ as adults. What the research discovered was something more profound, yet very simple.
By far the number one thing we as parents can do is to incorporate Bible reading often. Statistically, this was way far above and beyond the other indicators (we will discuss those in parts 2 and 3). Bible reading may sound like the obvious church answer, but if it’s so clear—why aren’t we doing more of it?
Statistically, we know that Americans on average own seven Bibles—but rarely open them. The numbers don’t change much even when you segment evangelicals. It’s no wonder we have a biblical literacy crisis in the church today. Therefore, we cannot ignore this new study that tells us reading the Bible is the number one thing kids can do to grow up spiritually healthy. The question is, what can we as adults (parents and church leaders) do to encourage them to love God’s word? Here are three ideas I discuss in the book, Nothing Less that unveils the research.
- Choose an age-appropriate Bible: There are many choices of translations, designs, and covers for families to choose from. It’s important to find one that fits the child’s life stage. For example, a toddler and preschooler may enjoy being read to from a storybook Bible with colorful pictures and easy language that communicates the biblical truth. An older child may enjoy something they can write in or that has devotionals inside that help them understand what they are reading.
- Use a Bible Reading Plan: Find something that works for your child and your family. Stick to succinct passages that kids can read in 10-15 minutes. This will lead to creating a consistent habit.
- Commit to Just Do It: I recommend making the commitment along with your child so that you can both get in the habit. Just recently, I started Bible and Tea with my kids in the evening before bed. We sip on chamomile tea and read from the Bible. Sometimes we take turns reading aloud and sometimes we read quietly. It’s working now, but I suspect that will change—and that’s ok. The most important thing is just to keep at it.
I am on this journey as a mom and as a leader in Kids Ministry. Join me and let’s dig in together because only God’s word transforms hearts! Nothing Less!
Find Nothing Less at Lifeway.com
Jana Magruder serves as the Director of Lifeway Kids. She is a Baylor graduate and offers a wealth of experience and passion for kids ministry, education, and publishing. She is the author of Kids Ministry that Nourishes and Life Verse Creative Journal, which she co-authored with her teenage daughter. She and her husband, Michael, along with their three children reside in Nashville.