We all serve week after week to share the gospel and nurture faith in kids. But we know that it’s parents and caregivers at home that have the greatest influence on children. So how can we be strategic about setting parents up for success?
Karen De Boer, author of the book Home Grown Handbook for Christian Parenting: 111 Real Life Questions and Answers has some ideas about that. I caught her preparing for a workshop called Family Connections for an upcoming conference. She says, “When you have a baby you're sent home from the hospital with all this great stuff about feeding, and immunizations and ages and stages of development---but nothing about spiritual development! As a parent I know that the most important place to nurture a child's faith is the home, but as a mom of four I know that family life can be chaotic so I've always been interested in finding practical and fun ways to nurture my kids’ faith as we 'do life' together. Now, as a children's ministry leader I also believe the church is called to walk alongside parents and encourage them as they nurture faith, so I'm excited about sharing creative ways the church can answer that call and minister to families.”
Encouraging parents in their role as faith nurturers doesn’t have to take a lot of time—it can be as easy as getting resources in their hands. Karen plans to share resource ideas that families can use at home to talk about faith and read God’s word together. An example is a new devotional game from Faith Alive called God’s Big Story Cards. “I'm all about giving people ideas that they can actually do—so I hope people will leave feeling empowered to try some of them at home and at church. I also hope people will walk away feeling excited about the ways their church can support the faith journey of their families. I hope parents in the group will feel encouraged and equipped.”
If you’re interested in resources for families, check out the Home Grown Handbook and Study Guide, and the God’s Big Story Cards. Or, if you’re near Grand Rapids consider attending the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators Conference (an organization that the CRCNA takes part in) for one day or the whole event on February 1-4. You can attend Karen’s workshop and choose from over 80 others! The Faith Alive booth is also offering deep discounts, especially for CRC congregations!