Monday, December 30, 2019

God's Best Plan & He Has You Where You Are For A Reason

I began writing about Children's Ministry twenty five years ago. It was the beginning of the time where churches saw the need for staff who actually focused upon developing a solid ministry to the children in their church - beyond the DCE (Director of Christian Ed) who often was an Elder/Deacon and pretty much just handed out quarterlies to teachers and planned a VBS each year. People were starting to see how it truly mattered for our churches to take their Children's Ministry seriously - they saw it mattered for them to have effective Children's Ministry and choices about curriculum and programming truly mattered. 

Publishers began developing more curriculum resources and training opportunities. People (such as myself) began writing websites (this was before the start of blogs) with information to help the new Children's Directors/Pastors as they worked to develop solid Children's Ministry. Things began to become so much better!

But, a big problem with this was parents saw the Children's Ministry in their church as the place/the people who had the "job" of handing faith to their children. I personally had many parents tell me it was "my job" to teach their children about God - it was, "why they brought them to church." I always saw these conversations as an opportunity to help the parents better understand God's best plan for handing faith to children - it is the parents' "job".

Over time, more and more churches and parents saw the truth in how it is the job of parents to hand down the faith and the job of churches to come alongside the parents to make a strong team focused on helping children remember, understand and live God's word. While this was a huge step in the right direction, we were still missing an important piece to the puzzle of handing down the faith. Yes, it is absolutely the job of parents to hand down the faith. Yes, the church is able to come alongside parents to equip and encourage them to hand down the faith while they also focus upon engaging children, providing adults who are able to connect and be additional voices who reinforce what the parents are teaching, help them make friends with other children who believe and be another voice who teaches (along with parents/grandparents) the "whys" - why they are able to believe God is real and trust the Bible with confidence. But, it is also the God-given job for grandparents to hand down the faith. Grandparents do not just get to sit back, put their feet up and leave handing down the faith to the parents and church. God clearly tells us in Scripture the job of handing down the faith is for more than the parents - He wants us to hand faith to our children AND our children's children - grandparents!

Now days more and more grandparents find they are the only ones who are handing faith to their grandchildren - and in many cases, they are the only ones bringing their grandchildren to church. If the grandparents do not hand down the faith, it is very possible no one will and those children will stop coming to your Children's Ministry. It is essential for churches to equip and encourage grandparents along with the parents. Plus an ever-growing number of grandparents are becoming custodial grandparents - these grandparents absolutely need your support and encouragement.

When you have grandparents, parents and the Children's Ministry working together to hand faith to the children, you are able to be very effective. It is God's best plan. But, even if you have parents or grandparents who are not handing down the faith, as the Children's Ministry, you are able to come alongside the parents/grandparents who are and equip/encourage them as you all pray for the ones who are not handing down the faith to be drawn back to God and take back this job, this role given by God to them.

Please know you have a very important job - equip and encourage the parents/grandparents, engage the children, help them make friends and tell them the "whys". These things matter. God has you in the place where you are for a reason - to help parents/ grandparents understand His best plan for handing down the faith and to be part of His team for handing down the faith.

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