When church leaders are asked to identify the three main ways in which children’s spiritual formation is developed the number one response is primarily in the home, secondarily in the church community and third in their school environment. Now if you were to ask most Christian parents, “Who is responsible for children’s faith formation?”, do you think their response would be the same? Is it a common perception that the church is what parents generally depend on for the moral and spiritual development of their children?
Research shows that three out of every five engaged Christian parents say that they are primarily responsible for the discipling their children in lifelong faith. The other 40% of parents do feel committed and passionate about it but personally inadequate to disciple their children. Now, if this is the mindset amongst so many Christian parents then it is safe to assume that they are relying primarily on the one to two hours a week that the children spend at church Sunday mornings for their children’s development of their faith.
If discipleship is only happening during the few hours that kids are in church in comparison to the amount of time they are in other learning environments such as school or home it seems unfair to assume these children will have adequate time to develop a faith that will last them a lifetime.
How are we partnering with parents to equip them with the tools they need to feel confident in their role as the spiritual leaders of their homes?
So, my question to each of us as a church body is how are we partnering with parents to equip them with the tools they need to feel confident in their role as the spiritual leaders of their homes? What can we do to challenge ourselves to place a much greater emphasis on cultivating a church-home relationship between pastors and parents?
Possible opportunities to emphasize the importance of this concept would be:
These are just a few examples of ways we can be intentional about partnership with parents in discipling up the next generation with a faith that will last. To ensure the future of the church it is our responsibility to provide opportunities for partnership that help teach parents how to articulate faith in a healthy way to their children.