Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Make a Significant Difference in the Lives of Children - Engage Parents & Grandparents . . . and Check the New Legacy Coalition Website!

I am all for Children's Ministry. I believe an effective Children's Ministry can, and does, make a difference in the lives of children. I believe it matters what we do in our churches with the children. I believe a strong church has a strong Children's Ministry.

Having said these things, I also believe the ability of a Children's Ministry to significantly impact the lives of children in a lasting way is limited if the Children's Ministry does not also focus on the family. When studies show the average child is only at church twice a month (check this link and this link for the specifics on the studies) . . . which works out to about two hours out of every 336 hours - yes, two hours - we can not continue to put our energies, staff, volunteers and funding in just these two hours. We have to look at what we can do to help engage and reach children in as many of these 336 hours as possible (two weeks=336 hours).

So, how do we do this? Keep in mind, God's Word tells us children are to be engaged and reached in all 336 hours we have in a two-week period of time. Since it is clear you, your staff and volunteers can not possibly engage children for all these hours, we have to focus our efforts on following God's guide-line for children . . . which is of course, the best guide! In Deuteronomy 4 and 6 He says teaching and engaging children has to be a day-in-day-out focus. This is the role of the family.

We have to engage the parents and grandparents if we are going to be truly effective in reaching children. Yes, we still focus on effective Sunday and Wednesday ministry to children - and these ministries do matter. They do make a difference, but for lasting and real engagement of children, they have to have more than just a couple hours every two weeks. They need their parents and grandparents to be engaging with them at home - when they rise, when they sit, when they walk in the way, when they go to sleep at night . . . this is the day-in-day-out living of life and it is where parents and grandparents are able to engage children.

You can engage parents and grandparents by keeping them current with what their children/grandchildren are learning at church on Sundays and Wednesdays. You can assist them by providing resources for them to use at home to continue the learning. You can come alongside them by providing opportunities for them to be engaged and encouraged to pass on a heritage of faith to their children/grandchildren.

One way you can do this with the grandparents is by teaming up with the Legacy Coalition - Grandparenting Matters movement. It is our goal to engage, equip and encourage grandparents to pass on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren and to help churches do the same with the grandparents in their ministries. We will do this by providing resources - and encouraging other resource providers to step up and provide resources for grandparents. We will do this also by providing regional conferences (our first one is in the Minneapolis, MN area this coming May - find out all about it at this link) and National Summits (our first one is in November - keep watching for more details as this is an opportunity you will want to attend - and take grandparents with you!).

Plus, our website has just launched! On it you will find information, ideas and resources to help you engage, equip and encourage grandparents to pass on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren . . . and when they do, the children in your ministries will be significantly impacted in ways just Sunday and Wednesday ministries can not accomplish on their own. Please check our website out at this link - and our facebook at this link . . . we have new content on our facebook each day, throughout the day! It is a great place for grandparents to connect and be encouraged!

It makes sense for Children's Ministries to team up with parents and grandparents - who loves these children more? Who cares more if they choose to love, know and walk with Jesus? Certainly the parents and grandparents can be the Children's Ministry's greatest allies and supporters - engage them! Equip them! Encourage them! When you do, the results will be significant!

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