We believe that God has called both the church and home to raise up the next generations to know, honor, and treasure God through Jesus Christ. This is accomplished through a strategic, loving partnership between the church and home. This partnership affirms that parents by proximity, opportunity, and God’s design, bear a unique responsibility for nurturing their children’s faith (see Deuteronomy 6:4-7). This partnership also affirms the role and responsibility of church leadership to provide encouragement and training for parents, and also to provide formal instruction for children and youth. Therefore, it is important for parents to consider how they can enrich their partnership with their local church.
Church leaders are greatly encouraged when parents express an eagerness to learn more about the vision, philosophy, and instruction being implemented in the classrooms, programs, and other related activities. If your church has not yet communicated this vision and philosophy to parents, prayerfully and humbly consider how you might bring this to the attention of the leadership.
Many churches find it difficult to adequately staff their children’s and youth ministries. Many challenges in the classroom experience relate to understaffed classrooms and/or overwhelmed volunteers. Seriously consider how you might use your gifts and abilities to further the discipleship of children and youth in your church. Teaching, organizational oversight, small group leading, preparing visuals, leading worship… all are valuable for implementing a spiritually enriching ministry.
One of the most important ways that parents can partner with the church for the faith of the next generation is to make it a high priority for the family to participate in the regular life and rhythms of the church, especially the corporate worship service. When parents do this, they are teaching and training children that the Christian life is to be lived in community with God’s people. As members together, we have both responsibilities and privileges. Living out the “one another commands” within the greater family of God should be the normal and regular habit of every Christian family. At a minimum, families should prioritize worshiping together in the weekly service. This may feel daunting to some parents but here are some resources to assist you:
Your children will be best served when parents and church are joyfully working together. Toward that end, there are some very simple and practical ways in which parents can strengthen the relationship with their child’s ministry team. For example:
One very strategic way parents can partner with the church and take primary responsibility for their child’s discipleship is by using the curricula-specific Growing in Faith Together: Parent and Children Resource Pages (GIFT Pages). These pages provide parents with a tool that will assist them in taking the biblical truths learned during the classroom time and then guiding their children to personal application. Parents have the greatest opportunity for “teachable moments,” situations that arise in everyday life, that can be opportunities to apply the truth of God. Real heart application of biblical truth, which changes lives, usually takes place in the context of relationship and everyday life.
GIFT pages provide parents with the following:
Download GIFT Pages Sample (PDF)
Youth and children’s pastors and ministers have a difficult job as they try to navigate the goals and needs of the wider church as well as the goals and needs of parents and their children. Commit to praying for them and remember to communicate thankfulness for their ministry. If you have concerns or disagreements with the leadership, be sure to address the issues in a biblical manner. Start by addressing the leader(s) personally at a mutually appointed time.
There are many excellent resources available for parents to help them disciple their children. Parents can serve the larger church by alerting church leadership to specific parenting resources. Upon review, the leadership may choose to recommend these to the wider church body.
Here are some family and parenting resources we highly recommend:
Practical advice and encouragement for discipling your children.
An interactive family devotional that shapes the mind, heart, and will.
Address your children's deepest need—to know, love, trust, and treasure God through Christ!
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