Last night my husband and I helped out at a little thing called the Drive conference. It’s a church ministry conference designed to help ministries keep up with cultural demands–so there’s lots of nitty gritty, “this is what we do” breakouts and big ideas in the main sessions with all the staff from North Point Community Church.
So, last night, Les and I did a showcase, or a sample preschool service for the attendees. We joined four other volunteers to sing with a room full of pastors and their staff members! I loved saying, “OK, boys and girls! Let’s all sit down and be quiet so we can listen to the Bible story!” to those grown-ups.
When I was a Children’s Pastor, I had very strong ideas about what church ministry should look like. Especially to kids. Now, that I’m a little bit outside the world, I’m not as adamant about the how’s. But I am adamant about the why’s.
I get the feeling that many parents think if they bring their kid to church on a semi-regular basis, the scales may tip in their favor and their kid will turn out right. Just like they take their kids to baseball to learn teamwork, ballet to learn poise and school to be educated, people drop their kids off at church and say, “Let’s let the professionals lead my kid to Jesus.”
And it’s an easy trap to fall into. Especially when you see a snazzy church like ours with cool sets, fabulous leaders and engaging lessons. It’s easy to let the church take the weight off your shoulders of raising your child to love and know God and His Word.
But it is a trap we cannot fall into! I just finished reading Connecting Church and Home by Tim Kimmel. The book is basically about this same idea—that parents have abdicated their role of pastors to their kids. While churches have abdicated their role of helping parents pastor! (Did that make sense? You might need to read that last sentence again.)
Church and home should be holding hands. Kimmel says,
“[The parent's] job is to do the work of the ministry throughout the week in their children’s lives and then make sure they bring their family to church on full rather than empty when Sunday comes around. The church…is supposed to come alongside mom and dad as an ally, mentor and cheerleader.”
Isn’t that the kind of church you’d like to be a part of? Isn’t that the kind of parent you’d like to be? Me, too! The rest of Kimmel’s book was full of information that leans heavily into his other books about Grace-Based Parenting and was a lot of philosophy. Honestly, I couldn’t get into that part. Maybe I just didn’t get it. What I did like was the last two chapters or so where he explains how their church partners with parents and families.
Their church created this whole map to mimic a Disneyland map (hello! You know I liked that!) and it shows how the church sets up “stops” that will allow parents to influence their child on their journey of life. Stops like baby dedication, rite of passage at 13, spiritual gifts tests, college ready studies and even preparing for marriage events. I really love the intentionality of a church like this–one that doesn’t see their end goal as having a great weekend service but molding generations to love and serve God with their lives.
If you’re interested in this whole church-home connection, you should check out Kimmel’s book, Connecting Church and Home and their website Grace Based Parenting. And if you’ve got some time, I’ve written on this same thing a few times, too.
How does your church partner with you to raise your kids for the Lord?
I was given this book in order to facilitate a review. All opinions are clearly my own.