Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Parenting and the Church

Parenting and the Church

This year our youth program is looking at adding some curriculum from a ministry called Truth:78. I’m very excited for this addition as they seem to be very likeminded to our own church in their thinking on the training of children and the church’s partnership with families. Here are some exerts from a few of their articles I’ve recently read and been very encouraged by…
In their article, “A Key Component of Effective Children’s and Youth Ministry,” they write,
The people who have the most access, the best opportunity, and the greatest potential influence—not to mention the biblical responsibility for helping children walk in the truth—are their parents. My plea to parents and grandparents is that they make the most of the fleeting opportunity they have.
The life of a parent today can quickly become consumed by so many good things that there is little time left for what is most important. Parents must not trade the greater things for lesser things.
  • What will it profit a child to be an accomplished pianist but spend his life as a fool?
  • What will it benefit a child to have all the friends in the world— even good Christian friends—but have no friend in Jesus on Judgment day?
  • What good will it do for a child to marry well but never sit at the marriage feast of the lamb?
  • What benefit will there be for the child who makes it to the national championship on his way to destruction?
  • What will it profit a child to gain the whole world and lose his soul? (Mark 8:36)
Imparting the truth to our children is essential and should be the primary focus for the church’s ministries to children and youth. However, the best two hours of children’s programming is no substitute for the passionate and intentional pursuit by parents of everlasting joy for their children. The church is best equipped to encourage, support, challenge, and develop resources for parents in their work of discipling their children.1

In their other article entitled, “Partnering With Your Church,” they go on,
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.
They go on to discuss 7 ways parents can partner with their church. A couple that stood out to me are, 

1. Become Familiar with the Children's and Youth Vision and Philosophy of Your 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.

2. Offer to Serve the Church in Discipling Children and Youth

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.

3. Prioritize Family Participation in the Life of the Church

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:

4. Partner with Your Children's Ministry Teams

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:
  • Before Sunday school (or other events) pray with your child—for their own demeanor and edification, and also for the teachers, volunteers, and other students.
  • Ask the teacher if there are specific ways you can pray for the class from week to week.
  • Share appropriate concerns you have about your child’s spiritual condition, temperament (e.g., shy, energetic, not comfortable in front of a group, etc), and any behavioral issues with teachers.
  • Inquire if there are any needs in the classroom that you could help with.
  • Bring your child to class on time. If needed, make sure to take them to the restroom, have a snack, or get a drink of water before class.
  • Make sure your child is prepared for class: Bible in hand, verses memorized, etc.
  • Have realistic expectations regarding the classroom and volunteers.
  • If you have any problems with the class, teacher, etc., pursue a biblically appropriate way to address those issues outside of class.
  • Let your child’s Sunday school team know you are grateful to God for them and appreciate their ministry.

6. Encourage, Support, and Pray for Your Leadership

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.

7. Use and Recommend Discipleship Resources for the Home

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.

All that to say, I hope our ministries at BCC are pursuing those ends of helping, partnering with, and encouraging parents in the training and equipping of the children in our church!

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20-21)
 - Phil 

Thanks to: for image.

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