If you asked the parents in your church about their plan to spiritually train their children, what would they say? The majority of parents want their kids to have a strong faith but do not feel equipped to pass it on.
The church has worked hard to create programs that help children's spiritual development and knowledge. While programs have a proper place, parents need to be the primary spiritual trainers of their children; a church will never have the same amount of time to invest as parents do nor will it ever have the depth of relationship that parents have with their children.
Pastors, alleviate yourselves from thinking your staff members are the primary spiritual educators of children. Instead, move into the right role: training and teaching parents to build God-honoring marriages and raise God-honoring kids.
How can your church be more family friendly? Most families walk into church only to be broken up — kids to one classroom, teens to another, parents to the nursery or adult classes. Figure out how your church can bring families together and keep them together. The personalities and situations of the families in your church will determine what works best.
Churches also need to help parents get back to the Deuteronomy 6:4-9 model of passing on faith, a model of day-to-day teachable moments. Teach the adults in your congregation the Bible and how to study it for themselves. If parents know the Word, the foundation of faith will be there to pass to the next generation.
Give adults aids for talking to their children about God and the Christian life. The transition from knowledge to teaching for most parents is the hardest part. How many parents have tried doing a Bible study or devotional with their children and felt it failed?
By training parents in their faith and creating a family environment in your church, you can help today's children become tomorrow's Christian leaders. Kids will reach middle school prepared to face peer pressure. They'll enter high school ready to stand strong in their faith. They'll sit in college classes and not buckle under the scrutiny of unbelieving professors and students. The church has a part in forming a new generation of faithful Christians. But it's through the parents.
Ever feel like you need to wear a mask to cover up who you are? Are you concerned that, if people knew who you really are and how you really felt, they wouldn't understand?
One minister, two jobs and the family that's at the top of the list. The number of bivocational ministers, those in full- or part-time ministry who carry an additional job, is estimated by some researchers to be as high as 30 percent of ministers nationwide.
"You should see the church they attend," Lucille said, armed with bulletin and newsletter. Creases formed across my brow as celebration gave way to comparisons a trap that had sprung too many times.