Deuteronomy 6:4-9 has been thrown around a lot lately. There seems to be an increased interest in what God says about raising kids… and I’m glad!
Throughout my ministry with boys and girls I have often asked this question, “Is it really my job to raise these kids in their spiritual walk?” And I consistently come back to this same answer, “It’s my job to PARTNER with parents; to find ways to connect with parents and help them train their children in the way they should go…”
It’s a partnership… and while it’s not my God assigned job, it is my privilege to work with parents as we lead, guide, direct, and disciple their kids. There’s no greater blessing in the life of a church than that of children… but with every blessing comes responsibility. I believe as Kids Ministers, we have the responsibility to connect with parents and work with them to disciple their children. That discipleship begins as we lay spiritual foundations in their lives; foundations that lead kids to conversion and then forward as growing followers of Christ. What an amazing privilege.
So, how can we connect with parents and give them the opportunity to be partners with us? Here are three things I’ve found helpful.
· Develop and communicate your vision. It’s been said that if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never know if you’ve gotten there! I agree. We need to know what in the world it is we’re shooting for and then develop a strategy that undergirds and helps us reach our vision.
What exactly is it that you mean to accomplish in your Kids Ministry? Decide, develop, and then share that dream with your parents. They can’t partner with you (and you can’t partner with them) if you haven’t told them the goal. Today’s parent’s (at least my experiences) are begging for help and would gladly get on board a vision that made sense to them. Share your vision.
· Communicate what you’re doing to reach your goal. Don’t just share the goal; share the steps you’re taking to achieve the goal. You can’t expect parents to support what was taught in Kids Bible study if they’ve never heard what it was that was taught in Kids Bible study! Share what‘s going on during your weekly programmed opportunities. Send home (or better yet text or email) the Bible stories content, the life application statements, the Bible truths so that parents will have the privileged of partnering with you as you seek to partner with them.
· Equip parents with the tools they need to be the spiritual leaders of their children. I believe that most parents want to lead their children, but either don’t have (or don’t believe they have) the skills to do it. We must find ways to equip parents. That doesn’t have to be a 16 week seminar presented by a facilitator with a PhD or MD behind his name (even though that is definitely one way). It can be simple sessions, or blog posts, or email nuggets that quickly share thoughts and ideas on relative issues facing today’s parents and a biblical approach to those concerns. It might manifest itself in an evening dessert fellowship in your home where you lead a conversation regarding the biblical truths about children and salvation (just to name one BIG parental equipping need).
There are a variety of creative ways to address parental needs that don’t require a lengthy series of sermons, classroom sessions, and homework (even though these are good, too). Consider your setting, consider your parents, consider your kids, and develop a consistent way of equipping your parents.
I know there are other ideas, but I just wanted to get you thinking. I’d be excited to hear what you’ve done to connect with parents in your ministry… just leave your comments and I’ll post them for everyone to see.