Parents (grandparents, godparents, guardians…), have you ever felt unqualified to teach your kid/s about God and Jesus? Have you ever struggled talking about faith with your child/ren and just decided to leave it to those who “know what they’re talking about”? These are very natural and common feelings among most parents. You are not alone. Over 17 years in ministry, I’ve heard numerous parents express anxiety about feeling ill-equipped to help their children grow in faith. Yet, even though the staff at church may have studied more theology and learned more scripture, we are NOT the ones who make the biggest impact on your child’s faith!
The Children, Youth and Family Ministry staff at Zion is working on a new initiative that we pray will guide, equip and help families in this area (practicing faith at home). GIFT, Generations in Faith Together, is a new ministry that is currently in a “pilot stage” with 25 test families. Over the next 6 months these families will be helping us to evaluate and develop this new ministry that we plan to launch this fall among all Zion families (that choose to participate). Essentially, GIFT is a tool to help children, youth and families develop faith skills and become more comfortable practicing faith in the home (or wherever you are!). The biggest component of GIFT is a faith binder that includes 40 “Faith Stones” that each child/family and the Zion family will work to develop over the years. The goal for kids that participate, is that by the time they graduate from high school, they will develop as many of these Faith Stones as possible so that they are equipped to go out into the world and continue to practice faith and grow as a disciple. The 40 Faith Stones are split into three categories… spiritual disciplines, personal growth and faith foundation. Some of the Faith Stones include things like meaningful prayer life, devotions and Bible navigation, while some under the area of personal growth include personal standards, sending a letter, and confidence in introducing oneself to others. Our pilot families are currently trying it out at home and will be meeting with us to provide feedback and determine next steps.
Parents, we need to work to get over this fear of inadequacy and realize that we are the NUMBER ONE faith former in our kid’s lives. You spend the most time with your kids… church staff only sees them 1-2 hours/week! You ARE equipped to help your children grow in faith just by virtue of being their parent. We encourage you to take baby steps and find ways to include God in your “every day moments”… have faith conversations in the car, pray together at night, bless your children before bed or when they head off to school. We can each make a conscious effort each day to do little things (regardless of how young or old our children are) that will make a HUGE impact on the faith life of our kid/s. Are you up for the challenge?
You will hear more about GIFT over the next few months. This fall, you will be invited to join us in this journey… but it’s never too early to start (or too late)!
Thanks for your partnership in ministry,
Video from Family Matters on February 22:
Kirsten Kelly shares practical ideas for helping your family grown in faith. From Family Matters 2/22/17.
Posted by Zion Lutheran Church on Wednesday, March 8, 2017