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Nicky Gumbel: We never told our children to read their Bibles

Thu 24 Aug 2017
By Marcus Jones

Leader of Holy Trinity Brompton and the Alpha course, Nicky Gumbel has told Premier parents shouldn't put pressure on children to read the Bible.

He's been speaking about the difficulties many face raising young people into the Christian faith.

Gumbel says being intense about it can be counterproductive.

Speaking in the September issue of Premier Youth and Children's Work magazine, he said: "Personally I feel it's very important not to put pressure on your children.

"We never told our children to read their Bibles, but they all did.

"I never once said to any of them: 'you should read your Bible'. But they see what you do and if they want to, they'll follow it. But I think if you say 'you've really got to read it', I don't think they'll want to do it."

Thousands of lives have been impacted through the Alpha youth film series. The course has been translated into 19 languages and used in 49 countries.

A new series launches in October but Gumbel says for Christian parents, modelling faith is far more important than what we teach our children.

"The most important thing is what they see in their parents' relationship with each other," he said. "If they see a good model in the home - of love, faithfulness - then they're going to want to stick with that.

"If they see something that is not attractive in the home - it doesn't matter what you tell them or what you teach them - they're going to say: 'I don't want that'.

"So I think it's never more important to try and live out your faith, than in the home and to model by example."

Nicky's wife Pippa recognises parenting in today's digital age is harder than it has been at any previous time but says encouragement is an important thing to pass on to children.

"Give them plenty of grace," she said. "So to say to them: 'When you fall…we're not expecting you to be perfect. To navigate through your teenage years is really difficult. We're praying for you, we believe in you, we're proud of you, we're rooting for you and we're sure God's going to lead you through it. But it is a navigation of a lot of obstacles and we're just believing that God is going to get you through that and bring you out strong.'"

To read the full interview with Nicky and Pippa Gumbel, request a free copy of Premier YCW magazine.

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