“When I get home, I am going to talk to Jesus!” my redheaded preschooler son called out as we pulled out of the church parking lot after another robust Sunday at church. My husband and I glanced at each other. I responded, “Yes, little love, you can talk with Jesus anywhere at anytime.” We smiled because we knew these few words were God’s gift to our family. They represented a partnership between our home and our church — one that we treasure, and one that we cannot parent without.
Busy family units
Hudson Taylor was a 19th century missionary who said, “All of our difficulties are only platforms for the manifestation of His grace, power and love.” Many families that attend church each Sunday are in a season of life that is ruled by a difficulty called perpetual busyness. It’s a season that is burdensome and overwhelming. Busyness can overflow into all areas of family life, and families need ministry leaders to come alongside them in support and encouragement. Therefore, children’s ministry leaders must ask how they can partner with families who are in the grit of busy lives.
Called to encourage
Psalm 78:4 serves as a humbling reminder to those of us leading children in our churches. It reminds us of our calling, “Tell the coming generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders He has done.” What a weighty and joyous gift that we have been given! Children’s ministers hold a great responsibility to partner with parents in this task — the task is marked with the highest stakes imaginable but also the greatest eternal rewards.
Children will spend only an hour or two, at most, in church each week. While the timing may be short, it’s invaluable in the hearts and minds of the kids. Take every opportunity to preach the gospel in every situation. Consider how your team interacts during parent pick-up. Use pick-up time to inform families of what their children learned at church, while encouraging them to keep the conversation moving during the week.
Children’s ministry leaders may have only an hour or two on Sundays, but parents have 167. Ministry leaders should be parents’ greatest encouragers on Sundays and throughout the week as well.
Ministry leaders should be parents’ greatest encouragers on Sundays and throughout the week as well.
As a ministry leader, you can equip your families for discipleship opportunities that parents might have when they are sitting at home, walking along the road, when they lie down and when they get up.
Ministry can be hard, and there is no perfect recipe. As you pray and ask how God may lead you to overhaul your family discipleship strategy, think about the kids in your ministry as you would an unreached people group. What do they love to listen to? Where do they hang out? Why do they read certain book series? Remind your parents to do what works best, when it works best, and how it works best to lead their kids to Jesus and grow in their relationship with our Savior.
J.C. Ryle once said, “He who has trained his children for heaven, not for earth, for God rather than for man — he is the parent who will be called wise at the last.” Ministry leaders, you are tasked to encourage and equip parents as they strive to train up their children for heaven as they are sitting at home, walking along the road, when they lie down, and when they get up. Do not grow weary!