I just read a great book by Mark Holmen.
Building Faith at Home is one of those rare books that not only challenges the way we do ministry, but actually suggests some practical steps to change our church culture – one family at a time.
We know the statistics. We’ve read Barna; we’ve been to conferences; we’ve seen the results of drop-off children’s ministry. We’re all praying, thinking and dialoging about how to make our ministries more effective and turn the statistics around, and yet – change is painfully slow. Parents still seem apathetic when it comes to assuming responsibility for the faith of their children. In the minds of Christian parents, they’re leaving the process of their children’s spiritual formation to the professionals – after all, it works with piano lessons, soccer and calculus!
I am determined that things will be different for the kids in my church. I am determined that my kids will have every opportunity to accept Jesus as Savior; I am determined that my kids will become fully devoted followers of Jesus; I am determined that my kids will not walk away from their faith and church when they leave home for college.
That’s why I’m so excited about Holmen’s book. Holmen advocates taking a different avenue to family ministry. Just as many churches have adopted the phrase, “a church OF small groups” rather than “a church WITH small groups,” we must become a church OF family ministry. We must “focus on the home as the primary place for nurturing faith.” Everything we do at church – small groups, men’s ministry, Bible studies – even sermons – must equip the family to live out their faith at home. And here’s where the book gets practical. Already having child dedication Sundays? Meet with the parents of these young children and teach them how to pray over their babies. Already honoring your high school graduates? Use this as an opportunity to equip their parents to prepare their kids for the test of faith called “college.”
Holmen suggests having annual “Take It Home” events for every age group – and these events are held on Sunday when families are already at church! Why didn’t I think of that? Once a year, parents join their child’s small group for a “Take It Home” event. And here’s another good idea – with every event, you send home a tool to reinforce your topic.
Strategic curriculum, family productions, family newsletters, making children’s ministry the best hour of a kid’s week, and now Take It Home – we might just have an impact that can change lives!
How about you? Have you found that anything you’re doing makes a significant difference in the way parents view the spiritual formation of their children?