The truth is that families are much more influential than the church in helping children develop a life-long faith. The problem is that very few Christian families regularly read the Bible, pray (outside of mealtimes) or discuss faith at home. Instead of encouraging parents to just drop-off their kids for faith-building at church, we need to partner with parents to equip them for faith-building at home.
As Christians, we believe that parents, before any other institution, have the primary responsibility for the spiritual nurture of their children (Deut. 4:9, 6:7, 11:19, Psalm 78:1-8, Eph 6:1-4). The children’s ministry in the church must focus on families as the center of a child’s spiritual nurture and formation.
The children's ministry should really be a ministry to families, which strives to establish a structure that allows the church to walk alongside parents, enabling and equipping them in their God-given roles.
We should encourage parental involvement in the classroom so that parents have ample opportunity to learn how to teach their child. We should offer take-home materials for every lesson to encourage and enable parents to interact with their children over Scripture.
There are many things that parents can do right away to help kids develop a closer relationship with God. Here are a few ideas:
Be intentional about your own spiritual growth. Learn more about joining a small group or taking the next step in your faith journey.
Pray. Pray for your kids and ask for God's guidance on how to help them to grow closer to Him. Pray with your kids at different times during the day--in the car on the way to school, before bed, at mealtimes. Share some of your struggles with your kids (in an age-appropriate way) and ask them to pray for you. Share with them how you see God answering prayers
Weave conversations about God and faith into your daily life. At mealtimes, ask each person to talk about the high and low of the day. This can be a great way to talk about how family members are seeing God at work and areas of struggle where they need God's help.
Talk to your kids about when you accepted Christ, and what He means in your life. It's okay for this to feel awkward, just be real.
Buy a Bible in a newer translation for you and your kids. Plan for regular times of family Bible reading, prayer, and discussion.
Write a note with a Bible verse and send it to your child in his lunchbox, or in an email or text message.
To help you understand the world your child is growing up in, become better informed about today's youth culture.
Look for ways to help your kids develop relationships with other Christian adults. Many of our small groups encourage you to “bring the kids” and welcome their active participation in the group lessons & discussion.
If you are married, do all you can to strengthen your marriage.
Involve your kids in serving others as a family. This could be as simple as taking cookies to an elderly neighbor or joining an “outreach” small group with your kids.
Of course, this level of parental involvement is radically counter-cultural. According to George Barna most Americans respect but do not relate to households in which parenting is taken so seriously. In fact, many parents view such an approach as a challenge or threat to their own family choices and ways of life. “But parenting cannot be Revolutionary if it adopts the core assumptions and practices of the prevailing culture. Parents are more likely to raise spiritual champions if they accept the fact that from day one their parenting efforts will stray from the norm and will put them at odds with parents who are pursuing a more conventional approach.”