By Jana Magruder
If you are in kids ministry, you know that one of the most critical pieces of your role is connecting the Church with the Home. Many times, we think of the Church first, meaning how we engage kids when they are with us for small groups or Sunday school, VBS, etc. and then thinking that the purpose is to link what you are teaching kids at church to the home. Your strategy in doing this may be to connect with parents about which Bible stories kids are learning and how they can continue the learning at home. All of that is completely fine and good—until a pandemic hits! Suddenly, the whole model most of us have established is completely flipped. So now, we think of home first. Even if kids are starting to come back to church, we know that this next year is going to be uncertain, and we want families to be discipling at home, because this has really been our goal all along. We know the “why” behind family ministry is to equip parents to be the primary discipler of their children because it is a biblical command in Deuteronomy 6. Most of us have been banging this drum for a long time, and now is our time to truly call the families we serve to action whether at church or at home. And right now, especially at home. How do we do this? Here are 3 guiding principles for you to implement in your ministry right now:
- Make it easy and accessible. We know parents are busy and even overwhelmed right now. Many of them are working full-time on top of monitoring kids learning at home. So, if we want them to disciple their children at home, we need to make it as easy as possible. One idea for this is to send them one link per week. What’s in that link is up to you! It might include Bible story videos with follow-up questions, family activities, or a prayer prompt. Whatever you choose to send them, consolidate your resources to one link and either email it to them or use a social media platform for them to access it.
- Give them God’s Word! Research tells us that the number one thing that affects spiritual growth in both kids and adults is reading the Bible. Let’s challenge families to gather together and read Scripture. Now more than ever, we need the comfort, wisdom, and truth about the authority of God over our lives. An idea for how to do this is to ask families to commit to reading a book of the Bible together over the course of a month while choosing one verse to memorize. It would help if you went ahead and chose that book and verse for them—maybe even sending them a daily reading plan in that one link from point 1. Have fun with it! You can even create a calendar and fun social media posts reminding the parents you serve to read the Bible with their kids.
- Connect back to the gospel! We want our families to talk about the gospel together—often! So we need to equip them to be comfortable with having gospel conversations throughout the week. Everyday situations usually have a connecting point to Jesus. The idea here is to use a simple format to help parents explain the gospel to their children. This could be done in the format of a video of you modeling a gospel presentation or a printable PDF explaining the gospel in age-appropriate ways.
The best way to reach families at home is to make it easy, give them God’s Word, and connect back to the gospel. If you need more tangible ideas for how to do some of the things suggested, check out our At Home resources that come with any of our curriculum resources including The Gospel Project for Kids, Bible Studies for Life: Kids, or Explore the Bible: Kids. Each of these have specific, one-link resources for you to send your families to engage their kids with the Bible and ultimately point to Jesus. Let’s face it, He is where our hope comes from, and the families you serve need the hope of Christ now more than ever.
Jana Magruder serves as the Director of Lifeway Kids. She is a Baylor graduate and offers a wealth of experience and passion for kids ministry, education, and publishing. She is the author of Kids Ministry that Nourishes and Life Verse Creative Journal, which she co-authored with her teenage daughter. She and her husband, Michael, along with their three children reside in Nashville.