Nearly twenty years ago a Barna study showed 85 to 96% of parents believed it was their responsibility to hand faith to their children, but beyond taking their children to church, parents did not do anything else at home. The study says; “The survey data indicate parents generally rely upon their church to do all of the religious training their children will receive. Parents are not so much unwilling to provide more substantive training to their children as they are ill-equipped to do such work. According to the research, parents typically have no plan for the spiritual development of their children; do not consider it a priority, have little or no training in how to nurture a child’s faith, have no related standards or goals that they are seeking to satisfy, and experience no accountability for their efforts.
This situation represents an opportunity for churches to prepare parents for a more significant role in the spiritual development of their children. However, while churches offer classes and other programs for children, they do relatively little to equip parents to be effective spiritual guides. The survey found that only one out of every five parents of children under 13 (19%) has ever been personally contacted or spoken to by a church leader to discuss the parents’ involvement in the spiritual life and development of their youngsters.” (You will find the full study at this link.)
I suspect the data would be similar if grandparents were surveyed. Why is this? We know grandparents need to be actively involved in handing down confident faith to the children they love, and we churches know it is primarily the responsibility of parents/ grandparents to do this, yet they do not ask us to equip them and we to do not take advantage of this opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of the children and families in our church. This has to change.
Please step up to equip the parents and grandparents in your church – the Life on the Goldilocks Planet series is a great place to start. If churches take on this role and ask publishers to provide resources to help them, the publishers will do so.
We need resources for parents and grandparents which will equip them to hand down confident faith to the children they love. We as the church need to step up and equip parents and grandparents. Don’t let another twenty years go by as the last twenty have.