In the conversation regarding faith development in children and youth, several important facts bubble to the surface:
A new culture of ministry is evolving that requires a different approach in the discipleship of youth and children. Many churches have placed a bigger emphasis on Family Ministry because they realize that unless parents are learning along with the children, effectiveness of teaching Biblical truths is reduced dramatically. Reggie Joiner states in his book Orange that the parents have approximately 3,000 hours with their children, while the church an average of only 40 hours if the family attends regularly.
The church is competing with sports, clubs and other activities that take place during the regular church hours. If we are unable to reach our families on Sunday or during midweek programs, then we need to find a way to get the resources into the hands of the parents so that they are equipped to shape the hearts of their children in the home.
The church still plays a vital role in offering basic teaching opportunities for families. Some examples are traditional Sunday School, Children’s Worship, Confirmation, Youth Group, and Vacation Bible School. In addition, churches still offer other events and corporate gatherings around Advent and Lent, where the foundational building blocks of our faith are taught. The church also provides a mentorship for the children that don’t have spiritual mothers and fathers guiding them.
The role of the church today is to empower, equip, and support our families so that Deuteronomy 6:6-7 is honored by partnering with parents as the true teachers of how to live a life that brings honor and glory to God. The following resources are recommended to facilitate this end goal.