“But church is my chance to get away from my kids!”
“But kids ministries are opportunities for date nights, shopping, fun with friends, etc.”
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard variations of these sentiments. My wife and I have four boys. We get it. Will you think through this with me for a minute? We believe getting involved in ministries for your children at church presents opportunities that other venues don’t. Here are some reasons parents need to be involved in their children’s spiritual formation at church:
Your Kids Need to See You Serve. More is caught than taught. It’s one thing to try to raise your children to serve the Lord by teaching them it’s the right thing to do. It’s quite another for you to model it for them, and better yet, to get them involved with you. If you serve in your child’s Sunday School class, you can guide them to serve by having them be your special helper – the one who puts the stickers on charts, takes attendance, helps with room set-up, befriends the new kid, serves the snack – the opportunities are endless. Your child loves when you serve and he or she loves to serve with you.
No One Is More Interested and Invested in Your Child’s Spiritual Development Than You. This doesn’t mean we don’t need or want non-parents in children’s ministries. Just the opposite! It takes a church family to raise a child in the Lord. But what if non-parents started saying, “I don’t have kids in those ministries yet (or anymore), so why should I serve?”
Parents make great children’s ministry workers! You know your child like no one else. You understand their needs. You understand his or her age group. Your parental insights and intuitions help drive home spiritual truths in ways that are relevant and practical. Who has a more compelling reason to be in your child’s Sunday School class than you?
You benefit as much as your child. The thought of teaching the Bible to adults horrifies many of us. But with a little effort any one of us could teach a Bible lesson that children will understand.
An educational principle applies here to spiritual growth. If you want to learn something, teach it. Nothing gives you mastery of a subject like the responsibility of teaching it. Want to know the Bible better? Teach it. Want to have more consistent, meaningful time with God in His Word? Teach it. Want to influence lives for eternity using God’s Word? Teach it.
Ministry Is a Launch-Pad for Spiritual Conversation. Church-going children are experts at scuttling around the question, “What did you learn in church today?” You weren’t there, so you’re really depending on your child to throw you a bone to keep the dialogue running. They seldom do. However, when you enter into your child’s church experience and become a part of their spiritual formation, it deepens your spiritual discussions. Questions become more pointed and elicit more thoughtful responses from your child, like: “Why do you think Samson didn’t tell his parents about the lion?” Because you taught the lesson, you’ll not only know the answer, but be able to guide your child in a conversation about the importance of transparency in your relationship. Suddenly, you’ll find the Bible lesson coming up in the run-of-the-mill happenings of your home. The week’s lesson becomes a reference point that you have in common, a lens through which both of you can process life.
Teachable Moments. Spending time in your child’s church class will reveal their character so you can better help them grow in character. You will observe them in an environment that perhaps you don’t often get to see. You’ll notice the nuances of how they respond to the obnoxious boy, or are the obnoxious boy! You can bet I’ve been on both sides of that fence! How they interact with Bible time, participate in activities, relate to the teacher as an authority figure, etc. all puts you more in tune with your child’s needs. That doesn’t mean that you need to ride them and correct everything little thing, as if Sunday School is for you to “school” them. Your participation will result in opportunities for you to correct your child, but also opportunities for encouragement, praise and reward. Parents present in the classroom tend to be more knowledgeable of their child’s spiritual development.
The Chance to Invest in Your Child’s Friends. Some day that other “church kid” may be the only positive source of peer support your child has. They may grow to be a source of accountability for one another. And you’ll have a unique connection with them and a platform to speak into their life that many parents can only wish they had with their children’s friends. Think through how you can nurture your child’s friendships with other children at church. Who knows, your son may just marry that charming little girl in his class he can’t seem to get along with.
Ministry Partnerships and Friendships. Even better than serving in your child’s church class, is serving as part of a team. You don’t have to serve alone. Serve alongside or start a rotation with some friends who have children in the same class. Recruit someone you’d like to get to know better who has children in the class. When you as a parent take responsibility for your children’s spiritual instruction at church, you may be surprised by the lifelong family friendships that will blossom out of ministry.
Being with your children at church on Sundays is not a drag. It’s not the time to take a break from your kids. It’s a unique opportunity that you can’t find anywhere else. Don’t miss out on your kids growing up in church!
If you’re interested in investing in the younger generation at Grace, please don’t hesitate to let us know.