Thursday, February 6, 2020

Look Into Their Faces & Please Help

Look into the faces of the children in your church this evening or on Sunday morning. Picture them growing to love, know, walk and talk with God. Picture them growing to one day become parents who hand down the faith to their own children; and one day grandparents who hand down the faith to their own grandchildren. Is this not what you want to see happen with the children in your church? Is this not why you plan, prepare, pray, recruit, train and engage with the children, parents, grandparents and volunteers?

Certainly this is what you want to see happen, but the statistics do not show this is what is actually happening. According to Barna Research, churches are struggling to connect with and retain Millennials and Gen Zers, Atheism is on the rise as more and more children grow up and away from church. This is something we see in our churches as well. It used to be if young adults wandered from church, when they married and had children they often returned - they knew they wanted their children to grow up with the influence of church. But this is not the case. More and more young adults do not return to church - even after having children. Many of these parents let their children go to church IF their children want to go to church. This means in ever increasing numbers, it is most often the grandparents who are bringing their grandchildren to church.

Look into the faces of the children in your church this evening or on Sunday morning. Picture them growing to walk away from church, and not return. In more and more cases this is what is happening, but certainly it is not what we want to see happen with these children.

So, what are we able to do to make a change? I firmly believe we have to be focused upon the following if we are serious about making a change . . .
  • We have to equip parents and grandparents so they are able to hand down the faith in their homes to the children they love. The parents and grandparents are the first and second most influential people in the lives of children - equip them to make the biggest impact (and in so doing you will make your biggest impact as well.)
  • Teach parents and grandparents how essential it is for them to teach the children they love how they are able to walk and talk with God on their own. Yes, the testimony of parents and grandparents is powerful and they need to be sure to tell the children they love how God has been faithful in their lives, but it is the most important thing for children to learn how to walk and talk with God on their own. They must have a walk of their own if they are going to grow to hold fast to God. For far too long we have missed this vital part - do not miss it any longer. (Consider recommending books like digital pdf Praying Deeper Through the Psalms for Children which families are able to get for just $5 on our bookstore at this link.)
  • Identify the children in your ministry who are only at church because their grandparents bring them to church. These grandparents likely feel alone. They need your support and encouragement. These children likely feel as if they do not belong. Think about it - you likely have friends at church who are also parents. When you gather outside church with your friends, your children are able to play with your friends' children. So, when they go to church, they already have friends. But, if grandparents bring their grandchildren to church, this is often not the case. Their grandchildren often feel alone and may not have friends at church. They need to feel like they belong; this means they need you to put a huge focus on being sure no child is alone.
  • Understand just because your children and the children of your friends are happy at church, it does not mean the children who are brought to church by their grandparents are happy at your Children's Ministry. In many cases these children feel on the outside and alone. If you do not give them a reason to be there - they won't.
  • Commit to engage children actively in learning. God created children to learn by moving and doing - so let them. Engage them, so they remember, understand and take to heart what God wants them to know.
Please take this post to heart. Families - especially when it is the grandparents who are the only ones who are handing down the faith - need your help. Please help them. Please do not make what they are trying to do even harder.

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