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For Parents: Family Faith Formation

Recent research from the Fuller Youth Institute has found that parents are the most influential factor in faith formation. The good news is that you have help! Grandparents, friends, and family members can provide support. Your church community also supports you and your child as you grow in faith together. But, most important of all, God is with you, and the Holy Spirit is working in children’s lives. 

So what does nurturing a child’s faith Involve? Lots of things you’re already doing! Loving your child, providing a safe place for them to ask questions, reading and talking about Bible stories, attending a church and participating in its congregational life. 

A tool called the Building Blocks of Faith can also help you nurture your child’s faith. The Building Blocks are four basic spiritual needs that are met in Christ:

  • The need to BELONG 
  • The need to KNOW and UNDERSTAND
  • The need to have HOPE
  • The need to be CALLED and EQUIPPED

Read more about the Building Blocks of Faith.

Building Blocks Resources for Families

Book: Dear Parent

In Dear Parent: A Guide for Family Faith Formation, Robert J. Keeley and Laura Keeley, the originators of the Building Blocks concept, explain the Building Blocks of Faith and how they apply to family faith formation. 

Each chapter ends with discussion or thought questions, ideas for living the chapter topic out, and a short resource list.

Family devotions

You can use these Building Blocks-based devotions at home with your kids:

Bible Story Books

Reading Bible story books with kids can support their need to know God and God’s story. Check out this list of some of our favorite Bible storybooks and picture books.

Ideas for using the Building Blocks of Faith in your home


  • Encourage Christian family members (grandparents, aunts and uncles) to share stories of how they know they belong to God and to God’s family.
  • Light a candle on the date of a family member’s baptism. Ask others to describe one way in which they see God working in that person’s life. 
  • Read from a psalm for devotions on your birthday. Pick your favorite or use a psalm passage with belonging themes such as Psalm 22:23; 23:1-6; 24:1-6; 100:3.
  • Attend a church and be part of the church community's life to help your kids see that they belong to God’s family.
  • Research from the Fuller Youth Institute indicates that kids and teens benefit greatly from having at least five nonfamily adults who care about them and help them grow in faith. Build relationships with other adults who can be part of your child’s “Faith 5.”

Knowing and Understanding

  • Equip your kids with an understanding of the arc of God’s salvation story. A Gospel Summary for Kids is a great place to start. 
  • Use “wondering questions” to talk about Bible stories you read together. Ask, “I wonder what God is doing in this story?” “I wonder what this story tells us about God?” and “What do you wonder about this story?”
  • Don’t be afraid to answer a question with “I don’t know―what do you think?”


  • Remind each other of the ways that God has been faithful to your family in the past, and talk about how those experiences give you hope that God will be with you in the future.
  • Take time to lament about difficult and sad things―and to celebrate God’s faithfulness and love for you.
  • Teens especially need hope. Read more in "One Crucial Gift We Must Give to Teens" by Tim Elmore.

Calling and Equipping

  • Tell other family members what you notice about the gifts God has given them. Talk together about how they might use those gifts to serve God and neighbor.
  • Describe the things you feel God has called you to do and how God has equipped you to do those things. 
  • Encourage your children to participate in faith-forming programs and activities that equip them to be disciples of Jesus.
  • Provide opportunities for kids to meet people from other generations in your church and to hear their faith stories.

What the Building Blocks Can Look Like in Everyday Life

  • George is crying. His friends told him that he couldn’t play with them, and he feels upset and lonely. George’s mom gives him a big hug and whispers in his ear that he belongs to God, to God’s family, and to her. She reminds George that he knows many things about God from stories in the Bible, and that one of those things is that God loves him no matter what. She prays with George that tomorrow will be a better day.
  • You’re about to pull out of the driveway for a long car trip. Before you go, you ask everyone to quiet down for a minute. You pray together, asking for God to keep you safe on the road. Then you remind everyone that you all belong to God and that this is a good day to remember that you are all called by God to love each other (including siblings) and to do what you can to make this trip a good one for everyone. 
  • As children head off to school, give them a blessing. You might use the Huguenot blessing from the article A Blessing: Reminding Us of God's Story. Or you can make up a shorter blessing of your own, like these:

“God bless you at school today, (Name). Remember that God will be with you there, and that you belong to God.”

“(Name), may God bless you and keep you today. May you grow in faith, live in hope, and share God’s love.”

“(Name), you are called by God to love others. God has given you many gifts to share with the people you meet. May you find many ways to use them today.”

  • One grandparent texts two sentences to each grandchild on Monday mornings: one sentence about them and one about how God is with them. For example:
    • Jamie, I’m praying for you as you take your test today. May the God you belong to give you the ability to focus on the test and do well. 
    • Esperanza, I’ve noticed that you often show the love of Jesus by being kind to your sister. I hope you feel God’s love today too!