A Family-Friendly Scrapbook

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Parents want to train their children spiritually! Barna Research
Group reports that close to nine out of 10 parents of children
under age 13 (85 percent) believe they have the primary
responsibility for teaching their children about religious beliefs
and spiritual matters.

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Is that the “Hallelujah Chorus” I hear? It is if, like so many
other children’s ministers, you feel that one of your top
challenges is getting parents to take seriously their role in their
children’s faith development.

Again, according to Barna Research Group, a majority of parents
“do not spend any time during a typical week discussing religious
matters or studying religious materials with their children.”
Parents who take their children to church with them tend to rely on
the church to do the heavy lifting spiritually.

Why don’t parents do more to fulfill their spiritual
responsibility to their children? That’s the age-old question.

Parents have been trained, however unwittingly, to depend on the
church and in essence to hand over their children’s spiritual
training to the church. How can we give back what we’ve taken?

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Parents need training, a plan, vision, and accountability. And
you need strong ideas from churches that are successful at
equipping parents with those things. Enjoy these snapshots of great
ideas you can use to help parents train their children
spiritually.

  • Our community outreach, Club Jesus — a
    neighborhood backyard Bible club — allows families to invite kids
    and families on their blocks to hear the gospel. – Antioch
    Bible Church in Redmond, Washington
  • Parents are required to attend a three-hour seminar
    before they dedicate a child.
    This is where we lay out our
    vision and clarify the respective responsibilities of parents and
    the church in nurturing the faith of children. – Bethlehem
    Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Take-home papers give families discussion starters and
    prayer ideas for mealtimes.
    These always connect to that
    week’s lesson. Because of the curriculum we use, all classes study
    the same Scriptures that are the focus of worship each Sunday
    morning. — First Baptist Church in Attleboro,
    Massachusetts
  • Turn On the Power! Parents get to experience
    with their kids what the kids experienced in class through
    Westwood’s Power Line via the Web and a newsletter each week.
    There’s a Voltage Verse — a verse of the month. Get Connected
    helps families connect through suggested activities. The
    Information Power Source suggests Web sites, books, or videos to
    build on the lesson. — Westwood Community Church in Excelsior,
    Minnesota
  • We emphasize the participation of children in our
    worship services
    and give parents instruction on how to
    prepare and assist their children in worship. — Bethlehem
    Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Parents — especially fathers — play a key role in
    preparing children for baptism.
    Fathers instruct their
    children with the material that used to be taught by the children’s
    or youth pastor. We also assist fathers with practical suggestions
    on how to give spiritual leadership in the home. — Bethlehem
    Baptist Church
  • In and Out! Parents are critical for moving
    every crayon, every toy, every musical instrument, everything in
    and out of our portable church each Sunday. Our parent connection
    starts with parent involvement. — Westwood Community
    Church

Connie Neal is the author of Walking Tall in Babylon:
Raising Children to Be Godly and Wise in a Perilous World
(WaterBrook Press). Please keep in mind that phone numbers,
addresses, and prices are subject to change.

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