You are all Sunday School teachers. When you drive through the parking lot, when you wait in line for donuts, when you choose whether or not you’ll lean down to say hello to a small child… you are teaching our kids what it looks like for a grown up to live out their faith.
Every opportunity I have, I remind our church, and our parents, that raising a child up in the faith is a job that’s bigger than one person can handle. Heck, it’s bigger than one family can handle.
Moses, at the end of his life, gathered the people of Israel together for one final charge – pass the faith on to the next generation. When we look at Deuteronomy 6, we see a call to the community of God’s people to walk alongside their children and youth and teach them what faith in God should look like. The call goes out to more than just parents – it’s the aunts, uncles, grandparents, brothers, sisters and neighbors who are called to rally together to pass on a love for God to those who are younger than they are.
Somewhere in the mix, we’ve fallen short on this one. Some parents have been told that it’s their responsibility, and theirs alone, to lead their children to Christ. Other parents have been given the impression that the church will handle the spiritual development of their kids… all they have to do is drop them off. If your church can toss these two misconceptions out the window, and embrace a community approach to a child’s spiritual development, our kids have a better chance of being equipped to reach the generation after them with the Gospel of Christ.
But, Elevating Community is a two way street. The church needs to be intentional about placing leaders in the lives of children and students who can speak into situations in their lives in ways that parents rarely can. Parents need to consistently bring their kids to church in order to foster trusting relationships with small group leaders.
At Glenkirk Church, we have a consistent model of ministry that elevates a community worship experience (large group teaching/praise) supported by a relational time of reflection, application and prayer. Whether you are 4 years old, or 74 years old, our hope is that you are experiencing both large group and small group environments. This rhythm exists in everything we do.
As a parenting tool, I often encourage parents of our elementary aged students to serve as a small group leader in student ministries… consider it “covert-ops”. When parents develop meaningful relationships with students outside of their children’s peer group, it elevates the perception of need for that same relationship in their child’s future. That is, when they see how important small group leaders are, it encourages them to support and partner with their own child’s small group leader. At the same time, it often gives parents a glimpse into their own family’s future (by hearing the struggles and situations that their children may face in the coming years) and gives them an opportunity to equip and prepare their own kids for the future.
Want to see what others are saying about Elevating Community? Head on over to ChildrensMinistryOnline.com to see what others in the kidmin community are saying during Orange Week!
Want to read a recap of Day 2 of Orange Week?
Check out “Orange Week: Refine the Message Recap“