Who is the most influential person in your
children’s faith journey? Who is the one kids turn to with
questions about God, faith, the Bible, and Jesus? Many times
parents would like to be the ones who lead their kids to living for
God, but they don’t really know how. They feel like they’re not
equipped, they don’t have all the answers, or they simply don’t
have enough time in the day.
Part of our jobs as children’s ministers is to
equip parents to be spiritual leaders for their kids. Last year
I covered this topic, and since then I have discovered more
great ways to team up with parents. Here are five additional ways
to help parents pass on faith.
1. Remind parents that they matter.So who
really influences your children’s faith the most? It’s not you,
their children’s minister (although you do have a major influence).
It’s not the friends they hang out with. In a Hope for Women article by Kristen Hamilton,
she points to research by the Search Institute that shows moms
are the most influential person in their children’s faith journey,
followed by dads and grandparents. Parents need to know that what
they do and say matters. Remind them that their kids look up to
them in many ways, including as their spiritual guides. Help them
find ways to nurture their children’s faith at home. Kristen’s
article shares many different ways to help parents connect with
their kids in this way.
2. Partner with parents.Connie Neal, author of
“Walking Tall in Babylon: Raising Children to Be Godly and Wise in
a Perilous World” (WaterBrook Press), quotes the Barna Research
Group as saying 85 percent of parents who have kids under age 13
believe they have the primary responsibility for teaching their
children about religious beliefs and spiritual matters. But the
majority of parents”do not spend any time during a typical week
discussing religious matters or studying religious materials with
their children.” Connie surveyed many churches to find out what
they do to collaborate with parents. Their answers may surprise
Kids LOVE these Sunday School resources!
3. Host a parent meeting. Still don’t know
what to say to your parents? We’ve got you covered. Try this Parent Meeting
Plan by Christine Yount Jones. This mini-message is interactive
enough to hold parents’ attention and short enough to keep it. Plan
for child care, order some pizza, and invite parents over for some
faith and fun.
4. Make it easy.Over at the Family Matters Blog, they offer 10 ways for
parents to teach their children about faith. These simple ideas are
great to share with parents, as they don’t take much time or
energy. It takes the huge task of growing their children’s faith
and breaks it down into simple, bite-sized steps they can take
daily. I love the quote they share by Dr. Tim Kimmel: “A child will
not accept a life plan to which his parents only give mental
assent. If a child is going to accept your faith as his own, he
must see it lived out. Alive and breathing and functioning. In
5. Start a new deal.Only one out of five
parents has ever been personally contacted or spoken to by a church
leader to discuss the parent’s involvement in the spiritual life
and development of their children. Karl Bastian wrote in article
called “The New Deal” in
which he takes a look at negotiation with parents. It’s an
interesting article and worth a look.
How do you partner with parents? Do your
handouts make it home? What tips would you share with children’s
ministers who are looking to connect with parents? Share your
thoughts using the comment section below.