Churches have an important role in encouraging parents to have regular faith@home practices with their children. Sometimes we, the church, inadvertently promote a message “bring your children to us and all will be fine”, rather than reminding parents that they are the greatest influence in a child’s faith.
“Parents are the primary faith teachers, mentors and role models for their children with the church as a reinforcement – not replacement – of the parent’s duties.” Rich Melheim, Faith Inkubators
Stories from our churches
PASS IT ON
The Lawrence-Waitahuna Church in Otago had an All Age Service celebrating ‘The Bible, God’s Word. Pass it on!’ It was a wonderful example of how a focus at church on the regular faith at home practice of Bible reading encouraged everyone.
Rev Andrew Harrex asked people the week before to bring along something that helped them to read the Bible. On the day, children and adults lined up to show their favourite storybook Bibles, age-appropriate Bible reading notes, phones with Bible apps and even glasses – a necessary aid for some! Laughter and sharing flowed naturally with songs and prayers. Later everyone got into small mixed groups to create posters inspired by Bible verses, sharing how the Bible had been passed onto them. Children were comfortable working with adults and made valuable contributions. One man shared ‘It’s amazing what I have just learnt from these children!”
Over morning tea all could explore a bookstall of Bibles and Bible reading aids that inspired great discussions. Several adults shared how they are enjoying the ‘Bible in One-Year’ app. One man noted that his children now SEE him reading the Bible. Before he used to sit in his room with the door shut, but now he realises how important it is for him to role model bible reading for his children.
Ideas for Churches to encourage faith@home practices
- Take home activities for children to explore with their families (many curriculums now include a resource for this)
- Questions and activities to follow up the sermon or theme for families and/or homegroups
- A library of resources
- Parent or family evenings. If you are running a parent evening, consider how to cater for children so that as many parents as possible can come. Share some personal stories from older parents who have ‘been there, done that’, a range of ideas and some resources ready to go.
- Take it Home event during church (see “Take it Home”)
TAKE IT HOME by Mark Holman and Dave Teixeira
Take It Home is a Faith at Home initiative, which is unpacked in detail in Mark Holmen’s book ‘Faith begins at home’. However, the key principles are repeated in the opening chapters of this book too. This practical book has 13 reproducible “Take-It-Home Event” outlines; and a DVD with many other resources for leaders. There’s a lot of help here for designing your own event with parents. Mark knows that the hardest time to start a faith at home practice is the FIRST time, so these ‘take it home’ events are designed so that families do this at the event then take home some resources to keep them going. A great example of ‘teaching a family how to fish rather than just providing them with one meal of fish’.
Read more….. Order your copy here (Kids Friendly has a copy to lend)
Families (households) are the “primary faith communities” for all ages, especially children in their formative years and the household needs to be supported strongly in this role.
For books, blogs, videos, conferences, curriculum and MORE check out the Orange website.
What if the primary mission of the church is not to help the family, and the number one priority of the family is not to go to church? What if they are both designed to work together to show a generation who God is? Two combined influences can make a greater impact than just two influences.
The “Think Orange” strategy aims to:
- Engage parents in an integrated strategy
- Synchronize the home and church around a clear message
- Provoke parents and kids to fight for their relationship with each other
- Recruit mentors to become partners with families
- Mobilize the next generation to be the church