How Do I Share the Gospel with My Son?

Sharing the gospel with your son is both incredibly simple and also very humbling. It is simple because it is just a matter of talking and living like you are a free person—a man who is free from the crushing effects of the law. It is as simple as talking about the gospel when your son sins, pointing him to Christ. It is as simple as seeing your son as a sinner in need of grace—just like you.

As dads, we cannot expect our sons to be any more perfect than we are. Therefore, we need to be patient in their failures, just as the Father is patient with us. We can show them the forgiveness o God by being quick to forgive them and restore them (Luke 15:11–32). This is simple to say, and difficult to do. So, here are a few helpful hints.

First, talk about the goodness of the gospel. When you can, connect the gospel with what they are experiencing in a natural way. Here’s an example: if your son gets mad at his sibling and yells or hits them, after you stop the violence, tell him the good news that Jesus had brothers and sisters too. No doubt they took his stuff sometimes, but he never got sinfully angry with them. Tell your son that when we have faith in Jesus, God sees us as if we had never gotten angry, because we are covered with Christ’s righteousness (Isaiah 61:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21). When we put our faith in Jesus, we are given a new heart in exchange for our old, dead one (2 Corinthians 5:17; Hebrews 8:10). We are no longer controlled by the flesh but by the Spirit (Romans 8:9).

Second, remind them that God loves and forgives them. Point out where you already see God at work in them. And here is the kicker: when we sin against our sons, we ask for their forgiveness and remind them that we need the gospel just as much as they do. We tell them that the Holy Spirit lives in both of us and has set us free from sin (2 Corinthians 3:17).

Third, we pray for them. We pray that God would grip their hearts with the truths of the gospel.

Finally, involve them in a church where they hear the gospel every week and where they can participate in the sacraments (Communion and baptism). Encourage them that God speaks to them through the teaching of his Word. Remind them that baptism signifies the reality that God is making a covenant with them. And tell them that just as surely as they see and taste the bread and wine, Jesus was sacrificed for them and is committed to them forever.

See, dads, it is simple but also hard. Sharing the gospel with your sons requires that you be plugged in to their lives—and the gospel—as you live with them. It means that you are paying attention to the work of Christ in your home. You can do this.

Now on to one of our other responsibilities…

How Do I Lead Family Worship?

Family worship is a lost art in American Christianity. It may even sound mysterious because it is so us. It may also feel boring and legalistic. But it doesn’t have to be boring, and it isn’t legalistic. It is simply leading your family to Christ through the ordinary means of the Word and prayer. It is the simple practice of reading the Bible today—maybe explaining the passage, maybe asking questions—and then praying.

This sounds like a daunting task, because for the majority of us (myself included), our wives are more spiritually aware than we are. But when a man leads his family to church and in worship, his family understands that God is a priority in his life, and they will be very likely to follow him in it.

Now to the mechanics of it. There are two core elements: the Word and prayer. The rest is up to you.

Open your time together with prayer. Your family may like to sing; if so, sing a song you sing at church. If not, make a joyful noise—try a song anyway, and laugh. Singing is so helpful for remembering the truths of God. If you need help with songs, Seeds Family Worship (a band) sets Scripture to good music geared toward family worship.

Then, open your Bible. Starting with one of the Gospels is a great place. Read a portion of Scripture, and ask the kids simple questions about the storyline. Then ask them about how they see Jesus in the passage—as the person who fulfills the command of the passage, the one who forgives us for not doing what we should, or the one who is promised to us in the passage.

Ask for prayer requests, and encourage your kids to pray for each of those requests. You may want to use the church directory to pray for people in your church, or just pray for whoever you can think of. Be sure to pray with thankfulness to train your kids that there are things to be thankful for.

That’s it. Easy as it can be. When you build this into the rhythm of your family, it will become a valuable time for your family to connect and gather around Jesus.

I get asked about the best time to do family worship. I think the important thing is to do it at a consistent time that works for all of you. If that’s dinner, when you all are around the table, go for it. If it is at bedtime, that works as well. If you’re a morning family, that’s great as well.

One more thing: be consistent, but be flexible. Family worship will look different at times, and it will happen with different frequency, and that is okay. And when you forget or get lazy, don’t beat yourself up over it—just get back to it. The point is not so much the time or frequency, but that you do it and do it regularly.

Excerpted from Between Us Guys: Life-Changing Conversations for Dads and Sons © 2019 by Joel Fitzpatrick. Used with permission of New Growth Press. May not be reproduced without prior written permission.

Between Us Guys Frontcover


This easy-to-use, life-changing book for fathers and sons gives readers the tools to have important talks about life, faith, and being a man. With a conversational and captivating tone, fathers and other caregivers are guided into having gospel-focused conversations with boys ages six to ten about a wide range of topics from social justice and friendships to money, anger, and more.

About the author

Joel Fitzpatrick

Joel Fitzpatrick has served as an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America with a focus on youth and family. He received his MDiv from Westminster Seminary California. Joel lives in Southern California with his wife of nearly twenty years and their two children. He is the coauthor of Mom, Dad . . . What’s Sex? and contributed chapters to The Sinner and Saints Devotional: 60 Days in the Psalms. His latest release is Between Us Guys: Life-Changing Conversations for Dads and Sons.

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