Hi, Mom, here’s some interesting news I wanted to share with you:
I recently Googled “how to engage parents in children’s ministry.” I found articles that suggested these roles for parents in children’s ministry:
But did you notice? These are not parental roles. These are jobs for volunteers. This is not how we parents should engage in children’s ministry. Those roles are fine, but they do not fulfill the church’s role of involving parents. The list just reveals that children’s ministry volunteers tend to be parents. We have to look at this through a different paradigm.
The old definition of involving parents in children’s ministry was to require them to serve as volunteers.
It’s time to look at children’s ministry as something that happens at home.
The old definition of involving parents in children’s ministry was to require them to serve as volunteers. It’s time to look at children’s ministry as something that happens at home. The faith conversation that takes place between you and your children could never be replaced by a children’s pastor, a Sunday school teacher (if there are any left), a Christian school, or even Bible study homework.
Children grow up to be active believers/church members primarily based on parental influence
One startling study reveals that children copy the faith of their parents. It found that when Mom and Dad went to church faithfully, 33 percent of the children in the homes stayed in church through adulthood. Dad seems to be a critical component to this with the number actually bumping up to 38 percent if only dad was a faithful church attender but Mom was not. The sad news is that only 2 percent of children the survey followed pursue their faith in church attendance if only Mom was a faithful church attender and Dad was not.
(This breaks my heart, but don’t let a statistic on a sheet of paper be the linchpin that seals your children’s spiritual future. This simply confirms the essential role of the father as spiritual leader of the family. It should bring us women to our knees for the men of the church, and especially our own children’s fathers. But if you’re a single mom or a spiritually single mom, cling to the promise that God is a Father to the fatherless. It does not get any better than that when it comes to parenting. Claim it. Believe it. Expect your child to challenge the odds.)
My point is simply that we need to redefine children’s ministry to be something that happens at home with Mom and Dad at the helm. As I mentioned in the previous chapter, the church has your children for only 1 out of 168 hours each week and cannot sufficiently mold them into Bible-believing, Spirit-filled followers of Jesus. And God never gave that job to the church or to professionals. He gave it to parents. Verses like this one, also referenced previously, abound in the Scriptures.
These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
How does Deuteronomy 6 look in your home? Here’s what it has meant in ours:
father/son Monday nights—wings and Bible study
occasional family devotions (we weren’t too faithful)
homeschooling one year
studying AWANA Bible verses together
Sunday night Bible study for tween girls
living what we taught them in front of them
apologizing when we didn’t
starting a Christian high school (that was a big one)
and then releasing them—trusting them when the time comes
I hope and pray you will find ways to be active in your child’s spiritual development that work for your family.
Your Friend and Fellow Mommy,
Dannah Gresh is a bestselling author, speaker, and creator of Secret Keeper Girl, an organization dedicated to bringing moms and their tween daughters closer to each other and closer to Jesus. Her latest book, The 20 Hardest Questions Every Mom Faces, can be found on our Resources page.