Does it ever feel like the parents in your church seem to view children’s and youth ministry as a “drop-off” center meant to do the work of discipling their children? Or, maybe as a parent, you feel as if the church treats you somewhat like an incompetent outsider when it comes to discipling your own children? In either case, and in everything in between, Timothy Paul Jones has an important article: “Family Ministry: Three Truths and Three Tips for Engaging with Families in Your Church.” He states,
[Parents] have observed their children’s spiritual development from a disengaged distance. They have watched youth and children’s ministers stretch and strain to promote growth.
Now, in a growing movement in churches throughout the world, ministers are suddenly turning to these parents and shouting, “It’s time to engage!” The problem is that many of them don’t know how or why, and part of the reason that they don’t know how is because we as church leaders aren’t quite certain why parents have disengaged in the first place. The result is frustration. The purpose of this article is to take away some of that frustration by helping you to understand three essential facts about families like the ones in your church—facts that a team of researchers worked with me to discover by surveying hundreds of parents in more than a dozen congregations throughout North America.
Here are the three truths they discovered:
Here are his three tips as to what the church can do:
Read the entire article here and discover how he unpacks these truths and tips.
For more practical tips for engaging and equipping parents, see “Five Ways Your Church can Foster a Partnership with Parents.”