Twelve Ways Your Church Can Support Young Parents

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I’m not proud of this, but on my very worst days as an exhausted young mom I secretly wanted to slap people who flippantly told me to “cherish every moment.” Some days I was barely surviving, and cherishing the moments when I lost my temper or the kids were refusing to nap was not on my to-do list. It was often hard to see my flawed parenting efforts as part of God’s plan for my kids’ lives.

But those day-to-day family moments, both the good and the bad, are where God meets us and our kids. As the apostle Paul would attest, faith can form through dramatic conversions, but more often it forms bit by bit, conversation by conversation, moment by moment.

Is your church family a place where young parents feel seen and supported? Sharing tools with them that will help them see their day-to-day parenting efforts as part of God’s plan is one of the best ways to support them (other than providing free babysitting). Here are a dozen great resources to make available in your church library or to give as baptism gifts.

  1. At Your Baptism features simple, clear text adapted from the French Reformed Church liturgy and paired with vibrant illustrations and straightforward explanations on every page. Wondering how to explain baptism to a child? #problemsolved
  2. Dear Parent: A Guide for Family Faith Formation uses the framework of four "Building Blocks of Faith" to encourage parents as they help their children find their place in God's family, know God's story, live in hope, and discover their calling. Each chapter ends with discussion or thought questions, ideas for living the chapter topic out, and a short resource list.
  3. Everyday Family Faith helps families build strong faith habits together and make time for God in everyday life. For each day of the week, this pocket-sized resource provides creative ideas for exploring Bible verses, talking about faith in daily life, and praying together, as well as fun activities to do. Use Everyday Family Faith in your church's family ministry, as a baptism gift, or as a welcome gift for new families.
  4. Faithful Families offers ways to discover and develop new spiritual practices as a family, whether you're a new seeker or a lifelong follower. Faithful Families is brimming with easy, do-it-yourself ideas for transforming everyday moments into sacred moments.
  5. God Loves Me is a series of 52 Bible story books designed for children ages 2-3. Each book includes a prayer and suggestions for learning-through-play activities. (Can be ordered as a full set or individually.) #babyshower #birthdaypresent #baptismgift
  6. God’s Big Story Cards provides families with a fun way to learn about God’s story together. Select a card, read the day’s Bible story, then roll the color-coded die to choose one of six ways to explore the story together. Super Fun Fact: Churches can introduce God’s Big Story cards to the families at their church with a FREE Family Event. 
  7. Home Grown Handbook for Christian Parenting provides parents with real-world advice about how to help their kids know and love God--and how to build a home where their family can grow in faith together. Fun Fact: churches are always looking for small group studies for busy families and this book has one! The Home Grown Study Guide invites authentic, informal conversation between parents.
  8. I Wonder: Engaging a Child's Curiosity about the Bible is a resource for adults who want to explore ways to help children read, engage, wrestle, and grow into deeper understanding of the Bible. Fun Fact (and another reason we love this book): the author recommends our own God’s Big Story cards on page 123.
  9. Parenting in the Pew: Guiding Your Children into the Joy of Worship describes the close relationship between faith formation and worship and includes practical ideas for helping kids participate during worship in meaningful ways. A very readable book for busy parents.
  10. The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family. There are four reasons to point parents to this book: it’s grounded in research, it takes a positive and empowering approach, it’s practical (can you say “100 ideas to try at home?”), and its “guidebook” format makes it an accessible read for busy parents.
  11. Teach Us to Pray is a daily prayer book that guides families in both listening to and speaking to God through songs, Scripture readings, guided action, and quiet contemplation.
  12. You’re Invited is a five-day devotional that will help parents explain what the Lord’s Supper is all about and prepare their kids to participate. Designed to be used again and again, this devotional also includes an information section for grown-ups. Fun Fact: Now in its fourth printing, Faith Alive has distributed almost 7,000 copies of this book.
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