Do we need parenting ministry?
Written by Jon Thorpe, Director of Ministry Support, Youthworks Training
What is it about parenting that makes it such a touchy topic in our churches? Insipid lyrics and the evangelistic merits of another gingerbread house night are all open for discussion; there will be healthy debate and a few scratches but you will live.
Parenting on the other hand, and any suggestion that someone might be wrong in their parenting ‘style’, is genuinely dangerous. It’s an important topic and begs the question: when volunteers are called and everyone steps back, who should be left standing to teach and admonish and encourage godly parenting?
We have children’s ministers for children, we have youth ministers for youth, we have ministers for adults, but who teaches and encourages parents?
Three reasons to consider parenting ministry
In our rush to embrace a homogeneous ministry model we didn’t notice the rather large holes appearing in how we support the family or mitigate the negative consequences. Here are three holes just for starters:
1. Parents continue to be the most significant influence on the faith development of their children but often the responsibility has been outsourced to the ministries of the church.
2. We have stopped encouraging parents to take responsibility for the faith development of their children, we don’t preach about it, we don’t provide resources for them and we don’t talk about it.
3. Parents are rarely challenged about their example and priorities and they are rarely challenged about the choices they are making for their children.
How you can be part of the solution
So who is going to volunteer to challenge the status quo? It doesn’t need to be another program. It needs to come from children’s and youth ministers as they teach the young people in cooperation with the parents. It needs to come from parents talking together. And it needs to come from senior ministers who shape the culture of the church and be included in our mission statements.
We need to include parenting in our preaching application, interview parents about how they encourage their children in Christ, recommend resources, encourage bible studies to do a series on godly parenting, and encourage parents to talk to the leaders in the children’s and youth ministry.
We love our kids, we want to see them grow in Christ and we have a responsibility as a family and a body to support one another.