I don’t have my own children, but I work with kids on a regular basis, through my church. I often find myself wondering: how do I reach their hearts? How do I speak to their soul, not just force external actions? Is it a terminology thing–the way that I explain terms or use language? Is it a relationship thing–how much I do/don’t get to know them? Is it a transparency thing–my life must match what I’m saying?

When I was growing up, in a solid, Biblical church, I often confused external obedience with internal obedience. In other words, I thought “doing” was as important or more important than “being.” This was reinforced through external praise, rewards, etc. that I received for my actions.

A while ago, I read Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp, which was excellent. I thought his online article, “Two Differences…” was also very helpful.I know many of our contributors and readers have much more experience and wisdom than I in this area. So I’d love to get your feedback. What practical ways have you found to encourage young children to see God for who He is and to make much of him, without it being forced or ineffective?