Saturday, February 21, 2015

Children's Ministry and Parent's Ministry = Family Ministry!

If you are serving in a children's ministry, then you have to care about the parent ministry of your church as well. Deuteronomy 6 makes it pretty clear the primary responsibility for pointing children to God lies with parents. "4Listen, Israel! The LORD our God is the only true God! 5So love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength. 6Memorize his laws 7and tell them to your children over and over again. Talk about them all the time, whether you're at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning. 8Write down copies and tie them to your wrists and foreheads to help you obey them. 9Write these laws on the door frames of your homes and on your town gates." (CEV) Obviously, the parents are the ones who are with children at home, at bedtime and in the morning, so clearly, this call to disciple children is for parents.

Churches certainly have a role in discipling children, but since we have children in our ministries a few hours - at most - a week, it is clear this is a job we can not do on our own. We need to come alongside parents in this important job because discipling children has to be a day-in-day-out process . . . "all the time, whether you're at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning." So, while I'm all for having an engaging, exciting and effective children's ministry in our churches, we can multiply the effectiveness and scope of the children's ministry by being certain our churches are equally as engaging, exciting and effective at equipping, supporting and encouraging parents.

You have likely heard parents say, "We bring our children to church so they can learn about God." The truth is our children need to be learning about God at home. While children's ministries can and do reach children who are not learning about God at home, if we commit to building strong parents we will see the fruit of these efforts as strong families and children learn how to know and walk with God!

So, the remainder of this month I'll focus on family ministry. I'll let you know about resources you could use in your church to equip, encourage and support parents so they are the primary disciplers of their children. I'll provide ideas for opportunities for families to learn, grow and serve together as well as information on tools you could give the parents - and grandparents - in your church. And, I truly hope to hear from all of you. What are your biggest questions, challenges and joys in children's ministry, parent's ministry and family ministry? Please join in the conversation and I'll see what resources and answers I can find for you!

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