Faith-Filled Moment: If Necessary, Use Words

This game can lead to lots of laughs and family bonding — and can also help your child discover what faith looks like. (You’ll find more ideas like this one in my book Faith-Filled Moments.)

If Necessary, Use Words

Play charades with your child to help her develop a full picture of what it means to be a witness for Jesus.

Supplies: scraps of paper, pencil, bowl


Play a simplified version of charades with your child by writing down several simple noun and actions on various scraps of paper (such as lizard, cat, baseball player, flying a kite, ballerina, swimming, cowboy, gymnastics, elephant, Cookie Monster, going down a slide, soldier, riding a bike, gorilla, and airplane). Invite your child to also write down some words on scraps of paper. When you’ve got a good amount of slips, fold them up and put them in a bowl.

Take turns selecting a slip and then trying to silently act out the word or phrase while the other person tries to guess what it is. Have lots of fun together hamming it up!


A powerful maxim about evangelism that’s often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi goes like this: “Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words.” This statement has a compelling message for us about the way we live; our actions and daily choices do powerfully “preach” the message of Christ to others. But it also contains a fallacy in its implication that it’s rarely necessary to use words or that using words might not be necessary at all. This is simply not true! Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). He desires that we follow the example of the first disciples who were profound witnesses for him in both their actions and words.

After your game of charades, talk about which ideas were easy to communicate without words and which were difficult. Share Acts 1:8 with your child, then say something like, “Jesus has given us a message he wants us to communicate to others. And Jesus wants us to communicate it both with words and with actions.” Brainstorm together some age-appropriate ways your child can be a witness for Jesus using words; also brainstorm together some specific ways she can use actions to share Jesus’ message.


You may want to ask your child questions like…

  • Which words were hardest to act out without speaking? Which were easiest?
  • When it comes to telling others about Jesus, which do you most often do: show Jesus’ love through actions or tell about Jesus’ love with words? Which is easier for you? Explain.
  • What are some ways you can “tell” others about Jesus with your actions?
  • What are some things you could say or questions you could ask your friends to point them to Jesus?

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