Understanding and Helping the Families in Your Church

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Does it ever feel like the parents in your church seem to view children’s and youth ministry as a “drop-off” center meant to do the work of discipling their children? Or, maybe as a parent, you feel as if the church treats you somewhat like an incompetent outsider when it comes to discipling your own children? In either case, and in everything in between, Timothy Paul Jones has an important article: “Family Ministry: Three Truths and Three Tips for Engaging with Families in Your Church.” He states,

[Parents] have observed their children’s spiritual development from a disengaged distance. They have watched youth and children’s ministers stretch and strain to promote growth.

Now, in a growing movement in churches throughout the world, ministers are suddenly turning to these parents and shouting, “It’s time to engage!” The problem is that many of them don’t know how or why, and part of the reason that they don’t know how is because we as church leaders aren’t quite certain why parents have disengaged in the first place. The result is frustration. The purpose of this article is to take away some of that frustration by helping you to understand three essential facts about families like the ones in your church—facts that a team of researchers worked with me to discover by surveying hundreds of parents in more than a dozen congregations throughout North America.

Here are the three truths they discovered:

  1. The overwhelming majority of parents in your church know their responsibility.
  2. Most parents are not persistently or intentionally discipling their children.
  3. Parents aren’t being trained—but most of them are willing to be.

Here are his three tips as to what the church can do:

  1. Train more than you tell in family ministry.
  2. Train at times when parents are already present.
  3. Remind parents with grace and love who their children really are.

Read the entire article here and discover how he unpacks these truths and tips.

(Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Written by Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and author. She has taught Sunday School for over 20 years and writes God-centered curriculum for Children Desiring God.

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