While on my last Infuse retreat with Bro. Jim, a very interesting discussion broke out while my fellow infusers were working on a project. We were talking about the church’s responsibility to support, equip and inspire parents. I strongly believe that to a certain degree, the church should be involved in all of these things. Most parents need inspiration. They need how important it is that they take the lead and what will happen if they don’t. Parents also need to be equipped. Either through classes, small groups or even resources, we can equip them to fulfill the role God has given them to do. Last of all, we need to support our parents. They’re going to need help along the way and we’re here to help, right?
Every time I lead a child dedication class, the last thing I say is, “Parents, you need to know that we’re here for you. When you need help, we want to be there and get you through whatever you are facing.” However, during my discussion this weekend I realized something kind of important. Although we say we’re here to help and support parents, I don’t feel that we do very much of it. As I look back over the months, it seems like it’s a rarity that our children’s ministry is helping/supporting parents. It’s not that we don’t do it because we don’t want to or we’re avoiding something, but I think that very few parents are coming to us for help. I think that MANY families need help, whether the issue is great or small, but they’re just not asking for it. We can’t help what we don’t know about.
I wonder what it would look like if we started seeking out opportunities to support parents. What would it look like if we went beyond the causal, “How are you doing?” and asked more probing questions? What would it look like if all our kidmin small group leaders and volunteers regularly asked the parents they had anything they could pray with them about or just asking, “How’s everything at home? I noticed (insert child’s name) has been mentioning (possible issue) during prayer requests recently. Is there someway that we can help?” Even if parents don’t take advantage of the offer, would they feel supported and that the church is a place they can turn to for help?
I’m just curious and speaking from my own perspective/experiences. How is your ministry helping parents? Do you agree? Are there ways we could support parents more by being more proactive in our offers to help?
I agree we need to our parents invloved. I think as with most parts of my ministry there is a balance to be achieved. Could we do more family centered activities, yes. Do we eliminate all age based activities in lieu of family ministry, no. We need to remember that not all children come from homes with parents capable or even willing to disciple their children. We also need to keep in mind that age based ministry programs, which are done properly, can train up a child very effectively. As we look back to Jewish tradition to the time before and around Christ’s birth the establishment of formal education was key to a child’s success. The parents were seen as partners with the formal educators. I think that is the way we should do it today. The church and the parent form a mutually beneficial relationship that grows together in the overall goal of establishing a disciple of Christ.
How do we accomplish that? We offer ministry programs that teach the Bible not just morality tales. We teach in a manner that produces spiritual fruit. We give the parents an opportunity to participate through learning guides. We offer opportunities to worship together. We offer opportunities to serve together in the local community. We don’t treat our precious few hours on campus as baby sitting time we let the parents know that these times are set aside for discipleship. We teach that as Christian families we are different from any other mainstream families. We should not be afraid to hold each other accountable. Our primary goal, even as families, is to reach the world for Christ no matter the cost.