I believe that children’s ministry is one of the most important ministries in the church. Throughout Scripture, we are commanded to pass down the faith to the generations that are coming behind us.
That being said, we know that parents are the most crucial factor in seeing kids grow up and follow Jesus for a lifetime.
Reach the parents and you will reach their children.
I would never want to undervalue the ministry of those of us who serve in children’s ministry. But I believe we are at a point where we need less children’s ministry and more parent ministry.
A recent study by Pew Research Center reflects the importance of parents in their transmission of the faith to their children.
Only 8% of religiously unaffiliated parents say it is extremely or very important that their kids grow up to share their religious views. 70% of evangelical parents say it is extremely or very important for their children to hold their religious beliefs.
The transmission of religion through American families appears to be
similarly efficient. In the same 2019 survey, 82% of Protestant parents
had teens who also identified as Protestant, 81% of Catholic parents had
Catholic teens, and 86% of religiously unaffiliated parents – those who
described themselves as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular –
had teens who were also “nones.”
The survey also found that most people who were raised in a single
religion – either by two parents of the same faith or by a single parent
– retained that religion. Roughly eight-in-ten of those raised
Protestant (79%) were still Protestant. About six-in-ten of those raised
Catholic were still Catholic (62%), and an identical proportion of
those raised with no religious affiliation were still unaffiliated
Do you want to see the next generation follow in our footsteps and love Jesus? Then we must pour into their parents and equip them to lead their children to Jesus.
Perhaps it’s time to focus more on the greatest spiritual influence in a child’s life…their parents.
We need less kids’ summer camps and more parent camps.
We need less full color church bulletins and more parenting strategies booklets.
We need less women’s ministry potluck dinners and more sharing with parents how to feed their children spiritually.
We need less men’s ministry events and more father-son camping trips.
We need less women’s Bible studies and more parent-child Bible studies.
We need less money being spent on stained glass windows and more money being spent on outreach to parents and their children.
We need less resources being spent on new lights in the auditorium and more resources being spent on equipping parents to shine the light of Jesus to their children.
We need less books for parents about being financially successful and more books about being spiritually successful as a parent.
We need less cell phones at dinner and more dinner conversations between parents and their children.
We need less video game time and more time for parents to read God’s Word with their children.
We need less play time and more prayer time with our children.
I want to challenge you to spend more time investing in the parents of your ministry.
If you reach a child…you reach a person. If you reach a parent…you reach an entire family.
Have you read my book “Fertile Soil…see kids faith and flourish for a lifetime?” I share the 3 big reasons why kids walk away from the faith and how you can counteract that. It’s available at this link. It’s a must read for parents who want to influence their kids to follow Jesus.
Milestones are also a big factor in seeing kids love and follow Jesus. Milestones are a shared experience for children and their parents. It can be life-changing for families. You can get more info. at this link.
Always…always…always…be thinking about parents as you minister. It is the greatest opportunity we have to influence the next generation.