Each season of life and each experience in life is an opportunity in which to seek Christ. Parenting is one such season. It doesn’t take too long to realize those cute babies we wanted are actually real people who have their own set of needs, wants, and brokenness. How are we, as needy and flawed as we are, supposed to guide and parent these little people? There are no easy answers and our faith is not a blueprint for success in this life, but we believe Christ desires to meet us in it. The challenges inherent in parenting can be daunting, and therefore we hope you will find the church family to be a safe community in which to grow spiritually as you parent. Periodically we write about topics that concern parents. This month, I want to review some specifics of why we do what we do with the children on Sundays in an effort to build value for parents on their journey.
Our Sunday program has certain distinct ways in which we are seeking to build a healthy community for parenting:
Rather than a service to your family, we see Children’s Ministries as a facet of bigger church family life. Children’s Ministries helps foster partnership of the church body with your family in ministry. For parents, “church” looks different than before, but caring for children amidst church on Sundays gives both you and others the opportunity to understand how Jesus can meet us even while changing a diaper or playing on the playground.
We strive to make what we do on Sunday meaningful both to the children and to those helping with the children, desiring to encourage conversations about faith at church, between children and those who know Jesus. We then seek to provide a bridge from the Sunday program to the home through weekly email suggestions and links to resources on the Children’s Ministries Facebook page.
We have an evangelistic perspective in the Children’s Ministry and our desire is to give children a glimpse of Christ through those who know Him. Therefore we emphasize leader-to-child relationships within the small groups on Sunday, rather than putting the emphasis on peer relationships.
We believe that these leaders are limited in knowing how best to care for your child and therefore depend on you for insight and support. We believe that the big picture of what we are attempting to do at church requires partnering with parents. When parents and leaders are able to communicate as partners, much more meaningful learning occurs on so many levels.
Being involved in what happens on Sunday is important and so is seeking ways during the week to pursue spiritual development. We know that participating in a homegroup or Gathering study can provide supportive community for families. In addition, addressing some of the more challenging issues of parenting by attending the parenting panels, building relationships among parents through childrens’ dedication, and interfacing with their children’s activities will equip parents as well.
Probably the most important concept to convey about parenting and the church is that it can remind us we are all God’s children. The pressure to be a perfect parent is not coming from Him. He calls us His children even as He entrusts children to us. We can see the parenting journey as one in which we walk together with our children, learning more about His great love and to follow His command for us to come and bring the little children to Him(Luke 18:16). As part of the church family, your family will be enabled to do just that.