Who we are
Equipping tomorrows Christians...
Encouraging faith is a Christian initiative aimed at developing the skills of parents in presenting their faith to their children. We seek to encourage mothers and fathers to engage intellectually with the faith of their children, to teach them to think critically about how the faith relates to current issues in our culture, and to help their children develop a robust, curious and intellectually satisfying faith that will sustain them throughout their lives, and profit the Kingdom of God.
We believe that the act of setting a structured time each week to sit with your children and talking about how Christian belief relates to reality has multiple benefits, strengthening familial bonds and strengthening the faith of both child and parent.
We are an ecumenical organisation committed to the historical, trinitarian Christian faith as expressed in the Nicene and Apostolic Creeds. As such, we hope that our materials will be of use to Catholic and Orthodox Christians, as well as those of the mainline protestant denominations. Whilst we support a diversity of thought on many controversial topics, we seek to be open about biblical interpretations that we think are unwarranted or unnecessary. For example, we do not promote young-earth creationism. Furthermore, we oppose facets of belief that are not compatible with Christian faith, like the assertion that God does not exist, or that Christ was not bodily raised from the dead.
Why is this needed?
Many children currently raised by Christian parents will not develop a faith they can articulate, and many who do will not sustain that belief into early adulthood and beyond. Children unable to use their faith intellectually, or know how it is likely to be challenged in the playground and the classroom, are vulnerable. Many of the anti-Christian tropes that are common in our culture are easily countered with a basic level of training in Christian apologetics. Without this, your child will be troubled, and if it happens frequently, may gradually conclude that Christian belief really is without foundation. The good news is that if they are trained to think critically, and are shown how it is possible to defend Christianity based on reason and evidence, then not only can they weather these storms, but also develop robust confidence.
What about Sunday School?
Not all churches have a thriving youth ministry. Even where such a ministry exists, the dynamics of the group may not engage with children at an intellectual level. Often it is necessary to cater for a range of ages, meaning a reliance on simplified Bible stories and a basic spiritual message. There is nothing wrong with this, but it doesn’t necessarily equip a child who considers herself a Christian to respond appropriately when faced with hostility or contempt towards her faith. What is needed is a approach tailored to your child's developmental level, and this is best achieved by someone who knows them really well; basically you.
Christian think tank Theos, in their report ‘Passing on Faith’ demonstrate that the vast majority of adult believers come from a home with parents who have an active faith. The family is the key factor in the transmission of faith between generations.
What age of child?
Any age range really, and many of the resources here will be useful to adults, but many of us with children will be aware that they can ask simple but profound questions from a very early age.
-Why can’t I see God?
-What about Islam?
-Where does God come from?
We already try to answer these questions, and often find such answers hard to articulate, so how about some help?
What about teaching them to pray?
Our approach is not mutually exclusive with those that focus on developing a fully fledged Christian spirituality, but putting one’s faith on a sound intellectual footing is often neglected in Christian discipleship. As you will see in our content section, we suggest starting with prayer and bible stories at a young age, and then adding in apologetics and doctrinal resources as your child matures. A relationship with Christ is the foundation upon which your child can explore their questions about God, the world, and existence itself.
We seek to foster a sense of intellectual curiosity in tomorrow’s Christians and confidence and cultural literacy in expressing their faith. We believe this will enable the next generation to respond positively to the challenges their faith will inevitably face, and embolden their witness within contemporary culture.