Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Two Resources to Help Parents/Grandparents Hand Down the Faith

Since one of the main things we need to do as people who serve in Children's Ministry is to equip and encourage parents/grandparents to hand down the faith to the children they love, we need to know what resources are available for them to use to be equipped for this all important "job" and then be intentional about letting them know about these resources. For the past 25 years I have reviewed curriculum and resources for use in Children's Ministries, and will likely continue to do this for you, but I also want to be sure to let you know about resources available for you to recommend to the parents and grandparents in your church. Today I am going to recommend two resources.

The first is for you, and the parents and grandparents; it was written a few years back by Larry Fowler. At the time he worked for AWANA and released a truly eye-opening book which completely changed how I looked at Children's Ministry, so today I'm sharing this book with you again - it is written by Larry Fowler - The Question Nobody Asks About Our Children.

This book may be small, but it will ask you questions you will think about for years. It will challenge you to take a strong and close look at what you are doing, how you are doing it and what you need to do differently if you are serious about keeping children from growing up and away from their faith.

The Question Nobody Asks About Our Children is published by AWANA and they say it; "Reveals an alarming blind spot in Children's Ministry, explains how this blind spot contributes to the epidemic of disconnected youth, then presents real-world ways churches are combating this problem."

Larry absolutely, "hit the nail on the head" when he asked; "How often do the children in our ministries come to church?" because, like he says, there are 168 hours in a week and we get children for one hour a week - or maybe up to three if children participate in the mid-week ministry. If children actually only participate in our ministry every other week - as so many do, then do the math. They are only in our ministry for one - to three hours out of the 336 hours which make up two weeks. Yes, 336 hours. This probably has your attention - or at least it should.

So, what does this look like over a year? Over the few short years a child is in your Children's Ministry? And, what happens if they do not develop relationships with the volunteers serving them? Beyond this; what if they do not build any deep relationships with the other children in their classes?

Larry lays this problem out very clearly for us, so we do not miss it. And we absolutely need to not "miss" it. We need to sit up and pay very close attention and then act upon it. I'm so thankful he goes on to walk us through five things which make a difference for the children in our ministries, he is very clear about three things the church must do, four things our Children's Ministries must do and three things parents (and grandparents) must do.

I am especially happy to see Larry focus on how important it is for children to build solid friendships with other children at church. My church is large - more than 6,000 people on Sundays. A few years ago I taught a training for everyone in the church who volunteered and served with the children. The focus of the training was on engaging children - which is important for us to do. But I also spent time challenging volunteers and asking them to make sure no child in their class leaves without making a friend. As volunteers we have to care about whether the children in our classes/groups are connecting with other children, or not. I also challenged them to pay attention to when a child was not there - to email or snail mail cards - which they could have the other children in class sign for children who were not there.

You will find resources for "The Question" at the following link. Read the book. Then read it again, this time praying through it. Ask God to help you see where your church and ministry truly are and what you need do to, "keep the Zac's" rather than lose them.

The Question Nobody Asks About Our Children, is a must read - and the ebook is free at the link above. It is for you - and be sure the parents/grandparents in your ministry know what Larry has to say, so they understand they are not able to just leave to the church the essential job of handing down the faith.

The second resource I'm recommending today is another blog I write - Grandmas with Heart. I post at least twice a day to this blog and along with the other grandmas on my team (Linda Ranson Jacobs, Joani Schultz, Deb DelVillar, Sherry Schumann, Cathy Jacobs, Debbie Guinn, Nohemi Murray) we are committed to providing the resources grandmas (and grandpas and parents) need to help them hand down the faith with confidence. You will find the blog at this link - please share it with the parents and grandparents in your ministry . . . it is a simple and effective way to help them hand down the faith.

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