I spend a lot of my time at church. I work there part-time, helping with spiritual formation. But church is more than my job—it’s also a big part of my spiritual life. I am there for multiple services on Sundays, I am there for Bible study during the week, I spend a lot of time with people from church in my daily life.
And because I am at church a lot, it means my family is as well. Last night we had a potluck with our small group in the café at our church. The second my kids arrived, they started running through the building like they owned the place (they do not).
But because my life is church-heavy, it means my kids’ lives are saturated in church as well.
But my kids are in a unique situation.
The vast majority of the families that attend my church—and likely yours—are not at church multiple times a week. In fact, our most consistent families show up once a week for a couple of hours, and that would be considered excellent. Many families are spotty in their attendance—at best coming to church once a month.
Clearly, as ministry leaders, we have a minimal amount of time with kids when we think about their spiritual lives. Our goal is to do the best we can to teach kids and help them learn God’s Big Story and how to live it out. But the bulk of spiritual formation of children comes in the home. So how can we partner with parents to equip them for serving their kids?
2 Simple and Easy Ideas for Equipping Parents at Home with Wonder Ink
Parents are busy with work and kids and school. When we think about equipping them to lead in the home, we need to focus on quick, simple and easy.
Sending kids home with a resource like Wonder@Home gives parents a quick synopsis of that week’s Wonder Ink lesson and two simple activity ideas for families to do together throughout the week. The ideas are not materials-heavy and they are usually fairly quick for families to do together. Remind parents of this great resource and encourage them to use it to teach their kids throughout the week.
Another simple, practical way to help parents is to have active social media accounts for your children’s ministry.
You can post on them throughout the week so that parents know what the Bible story was at Sunday school, what the Wonder Truth was, and what Word of Wonder your kids are working on. You could even share the declaration with them!
Provide a couple of simple questions parents can ask their children to help reinforce what they learned on Sunday. Simple encouragement, tips and reminders throughout the week will be easy ways to keep parents engaged and help them as they reinforce God’s truth for their kids.
4 Ways to Meet Parents Where They Are At
I do a lot of teaching around the Bible and discipleship. I feel confident in lots of things when it comes to spiritual life. But parenting is a whole different ballgame. There are so many times when I’m at home with my kids when I don’t know the right answer, or I make mistakes, or I lead my kids in the wrong way through my actions.
Parenting can be really hard and overwhelming!
Equipping Parents at Home: Acknowledge that Parenting Is Hard
One way we can work to equip parents at home is to acknowledge the simple truth that parenting is tricky and we will all make mistakes. So many parents need the reminder that ultimately, God is the one who is in control.
Our job is to teach God’s Word and His way to our children—to talk about it all throughout our daily lives (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). But we also need to trust the God to draw our kids to right relationship with Him (John 6:65).
One thing I’ve learned in my years in ministry is that even long-time Christians don’t always feel equipped to speak, teach or lead when it comes to spiritual matters. Many of the parents in your kids’ ministry may want to lead spiritually in their homes, but they’re not quite sure how or where to start.
Many parents will welcome input from you because a lot of them don’t feel confident in their own spiritual practices and abilities. If I am unsure of my own Bible knowledge, how can I feel like I can teach the Scripture to my children?
Encourage Them in Their Faith
Part of what you can do is encourage parents in their own spiritual formation as well. Help them realize that they can learn and grow along with their children, not just as the authority who “knows it all.”
Consider offering spiritual training for parents a few times a year at your church. Call on other pastors or spiritual leaders in your church and invite them to come share about simple ways to both learn and teach about the Bible, prayer, spiritual leadership, sharing your faith, etc. These events can be a great way to equip parents so that they feel more prepared to lead in their homes. (Make sure to provide childcare in order to make it as easy as possible for parents to attend!)
You can’t be the end-all-be-all when it comes to equipping parents to lead in their homes. Help parents recognize the importance of other like-minded believers for their family life. Encourage parents to get involved in small groups at the church—for faith growth, but also for community. I have been blessed with a long-term life group with people from my church, and it has been so helpful for my husband and I as we parent our kids.
Not only do we have others who are in the same life-stage as us, but we can ask each other questions and challenge and encourage each other. This also gives our kids a set of like-minded friends, but our kids also have other adults in their lives who they trust and can turn to. The church is meant to be a community—it is hard to live the Christian life and to figure out parenting all by ourselves. Encourage your families to connect into community.
Finally, remember that the Lord is ultimately the one who leads and guides our families and kids. The greatest tool you (and the parents of the families in your kids’ ministry) has is prayer. Pray for your families and encourage parents to pray for and with their kids. We have a God who hears our prayers, bending down to listen to us when we call on Him (Psalm 116:2).
How wonderful to have a God who knows us, loves us, and leads us!