Much has been said over the past few years about the “Family Friendly” emphasis in Kids Ministry. To be honest … it’s a no-brainer! Every KidMin leader I know would whole-heartedly affirm and embrace the biblical mandate that parents should be the spiritual leaders of their kids. The problem has been twofold: getting parents to accept that God-given role and then creating an atmosphere within our ministries that encourages the family. Below are some ideas that think might help these two areas.
Ministries that Encourage Families
1. Check the Calendar. When scheduling programing events, check the calendar to see what’s going on with the other ministry areas of your church. What’s already on the calendar in the student world, the music ministry, or any other ministry group? As a church staff we need be diligently to be aware and work with all ministries of the church. Don’t force families to make hard and conflicting decisions because you didn’t do your work at the planning stages.
2. Check the Clock. Do the start/stop times of the various age-graded ministries in your church line up? I’m constantly amazed at churches that have different schedules for different ministries meeting on the same morning/evening. Don’t make families sit around and wait for each other. Again, as a staff, work together to plan a family-friendly church schedule.
3. Check your Motives. Why is the event being scheduled? Too many KidMin leaders fill calendars with events that simply fill the calendar. Fellowship is important, but don’t fill the calendar just to be “doing something.” All too often we force parents to make decisions that aren’t family friendly. Don’t over schedule your families!
4. Consider the Options. There are event options to consider that encourage families. Sponsor a “Board Game Party” or “Family Night at the Bowling Alley/Skate Center.” Family Picnics with family-friendly relays and scavenger hunts are always good options, too. Think through your favorite activities and events and consider family-friendly options.
Generally, Christian parents want to do the right thing, but more and more I see parents who don’t know how or don’t feel equipped to lead their kids in their spiritual walk. That’s where family-friendly KidMin leaders come in. Consider these ideas to equip parents:
First Things First. Healthy marriages promote healthy families. If parents aren’t doing so well, the family won’t do so well! Marriage classes, conferences, and retreats offer opportunities for parents to work on the core relationship of the family. Lead, encourage, and support these events in your church. Undergird this idea with opportunities for parents to enjoy a “date night” by providing Christian child-care and evening activities for their kids.
Start with the Basics. Offer parenting classes that will help families feel equipped. Classes on “Leading Your Child to Christ” or “Biblical Discipleship in the Home” or even fun topics like, “What to do with the Summer Break” will give you opportunity to equip parents.
Choose Family-Friendly Curriculum. What does the curriculum you use in your ministry provide to help connect parents with what their kids are learning at church? Do the parents in your church even know what their kids are studying at church? All three of Lifeway’s on-going curriculum lines include parent connection through emails, text messaging, twitter messaging, and smart phone apps. Visit Lifeway Kids Bible Study Resources.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Families need us to work for them, not against them. They need us to partner with them and at the end of the day, that’s the best thing we can do for a kid — strengthen their families for Christ.
Bill Emeott Since 2003 Bill Emeott has served as a Kids Ministry Specialist for Lifeway. His passions include childhood ministry leadership training and development, leading children’s Bible Study, and being an Uncle! Bill has been teaching children at First Baptist Nashville for ten years.