Ideas for Partnering With Parents

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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.

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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. Originally published in
January-February, 2004 in Children’s Ministry Magazine
.

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