The Importance of Parents
Those of us in Christian Education work hard to provide our children and youth with information and experiences which we hope will lead them to have a lifelong faith. Yet, we are also recognizing that another important aspect of our ministry is partnering with families in their children’s faith formation. Studies, such as the National Study on Youth and Religion, have found that the single most important social influence on the religious and spiritual lives of adolescents is their parents. However, many parents feel inadequate to take on the role of their children’s primary teacher of the faith.
Convincing Parents of the Importance of Their Role
How can we help parents to take on the responsibility for their children’s faith formation? First of all, we may need to share information, such as the results of the National Study on Youth and Religion, so that parents are aware of the important influence they have on their children’s faith.
Offering Resources for Parents
For parents who feel they are ill-equipped for this role, the church can offer resources so that they can learn more about their faith and grow more confident in sharing their knowledge with their children. These resources can include studies, parenting classes, books, DVDs, and websites. It’s important for parents to know, however, that they don’t need to be religious scholars or Bible experts to talk with their children about these subjects. Encourage them to just be honest with their children and not to be afraid to say “I don’t know” or “There’s no easy answer to that question.” PRC – Practical Resources for Churches offers a free booklet on their website titled “Equipping Families to Teach the Faith to Their Children.”
Intergenerational Worship and Learning
Children learn from their parents’ example, so it’s important for children to see their parents worshipping and learning about their faith. If your church doesn’t have intergenerational worship services and programs, perhaps it’s time to introduce them to your congregation. PRC’s website has a page with resources for Intergenerational Ministry such as recorded webinars and links to a number of useful websites.
Upcoming Webinars Which May Be Helpful
PRC offers free webinars and there are some coming up soon which should be useful for those exploring how to help families in their faith formation. Attending a live broadcast offers the opportunity to ask questions of the presenter, who is knowledgeable in the subject of the webinar, but if you can’t attend a webinar in person, you can register for it and then you’ll receive an email with a link to view the recording of the webinar. On Tuesday, January 23, 2018, Debbie Gline Allen, the Christian Education and Youth Ministry Consultant for the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, will be presenting a webinar called Passing on the Faith in Today’s Congregations. On Tuesday, March 6, 2018, Rich Melheim, founder of Faith Inkubators, will be leading a webinar about Creating Cross+Gen Community and Worship.
Have a question about partnering with parents or intergenerational ministry? You can email PRC with your question at firstname.lastname@example.org.