As children’s ministry leaders, we know we’re supposed to equip parents to build faith at home. But how do we actually do that? In this guest blog post from Vanessa Myers of Family Faith Builders, Vanessa shares her journey to make family discipleship a priority in her ministry, and she lays out the 3 goals she has when equipping families with at-home resources. Find all of Vanessa’s resources on Deeper KidMin here.
“Building faith in families.”
That was a phrase that wasn’t on my radar when I first began serving in children’s ministry. I thought my focus was just on teaching kids God’s Word. I really didn’t think about helping parents build faith together at home with their children. Not that I didn’t see it as important, but I honestly just didn’t think it was something I needed to do.
And then God spoke to me and helped me see the error of my thoughts.
In the fall of 2019, I felt God calling me to focus on the family. I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but I knew I was to do more to help families build faith together at home. So I turned the focus of my blog to family faith and I began creating resources for families in my own church to connect with God and His Word with their families at home.
And then we all know what happened in March 2020… Covid. Life was not the same for anyone. Gone was anything normal in our lives. Gone was going to church in a building. Gone was my normal way of teaching children the Bible. What was I supposed to do now?
And then it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. I realized why God laid family faith on my heart. Not only did He help me see how to do this, but He helped me understand just how important it is to equip families with ways to read God’s Word and build faith together at home.
But here’s something I learned quickly. You can’t just tell parents to read the Bible with their kids or do a devotion together. That will go in one ear and out the other. Not because they don’t want to read the Bible with their kids, but because they don’t know where to start. Building faith in families can seem like a daunting task and reading the Bible together can be overwhelming, especially if they don’t read it often. So when you tell a parent to read the Bible with their kids they might be so overwhelmed that they just don’t read it at all.
In addition to teaching kids about God and His Word, one of our jobs as children’s pastors is to equip parents to serve in their role as the primary spiritual leader of their family. They are the ones with their children the most. They are the ones whom the children see first. They are the examples for their children on how to live out their faith. But they need some guidance from the church in knowing how to be a spiritual leader for their family.
So how do we, as children’s pastors, equip the whole family to build faith together at home?
When preparing at-home resources for families, you need to have a plan and a purpose behind your plan. What is your goal for sending home these resources?
For me, I have three purposes for creating any resource. I want parents and children to:
- Read God’s Word – Whatever I include must be centered around Scripture. I write a devotion and always include Scripture that I want them to read. Reading God’s Word together is essential for all people to know how to live as Christians and know more about God.
- Know God’s Word – I also want them to know God’s Word. And when I say “know,” I mean learn it (and not just read it). I usually give them a passage to read, but then also include one verse from that passage for them to learn. They can memorize it in whatever way works best for them. I believe writing Bible verses helps in learning and knowing God’s Word, and even hanging the verse in a place where they will see it every day helps, too. When we know God’s Word, we can speak those verses over our lives at the times we need them, or at times when we want to praise and thank God.
- Live God’s Word – Then I also make sure the resources I send home include fun, hands-on activities that will help them live out what they have just learned about God and His Word. This could be a craft, a game, a prayer activity, a service activity, a recipe, or an idea of something that will help them go out and be the light of Christ.
So many things changed during the Covid pandemic. Our lives were turned upside down and we had to re-think the way we did church. One thing I have learned is that it is time for the church to lay the foundation again. For me in my ministry, that means turning the focus on the family. It means equipping families with simple and fun ways to read God’s Word together, which would help them in building faith at home with their families.
God has called me (and you) to serve in new ways and serving the family should be a primary focus. I believe it is so important to help families learn about God and His Word. I choose to focus on the family and helping them grow together in their faith. Let’s lay the foundation again and help families in building faith that will last for generations!
Author Bio: Vanessa Myers has served as a ministry leader for the past 21 years & began Family Faith Builders to help families build faith that lasts for generations by providing Bible resources that are simple and fun for children and their parents. She finds joy in equipping families for their faith journey and creating resources that help families read, know, and live God’s Word. Find Vanessa’s resources on Deeper KidMin here.