|Walking with Parents
on their Child’s Spiritual Journey
by Cathy Hopkins
A child’s spiritual identity is set by age thirteen, concludes many researchers, including George Barna. What??
So, is your church doing their best for children with that thought in mind? Where do the children fit in? Are children an afterthought? Do you have questions about preschool and children’s ministry or family ministry? Do you have a plan to encourage the spiritual journey of your children?
Let’s start with the most important end in mind: We want our children to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and become His followers. But how do we, as the church, encourage this to happen? What is your plan?
Begin by equipping Christian parents to guide their children so that one day the child will make a decision to become a Christian. Here’s just a few suggestions:
- Parent-Child Dedication Services- Set aside time to discuss with parents the reason for dedicating their child to God.The Dedication Service is 1) for the congregation to promise parents their prayers, service, and support in guiding the child toward a salvation experience and 2) for the parents to make public their desire to do everything possible to guide their child toward God, such as participating in Bible study, attending church, volunteering, setting a Christian example, etc.During the service, parents may share a life verse they have chosen to use as a scriptural guide for their child.
- Provide educational and age-appropriate classes and well-planned Christian events for children, birth through Sixth Grade, that will enhance their desire to follow God and serve others.Include missions ‘hands-on’ opportunities, relevant Bible study, discipleship, meaningful fellowship and loving, Christian leaders who lead by example.
These suggestions are neither exhaustive, nor detailed, however hopefully they will stir your mind and especially your heart as you consider children and families in your ministry and all that should be accomplished before children become teens.
- New Christian/New Member Classes should be provided for children who have questions about ‘joining the church’, ‘being baptized’ or who have made public professions of faith.This is a vital step in the child’s spiritual journey.Subjects to cover are: How to become a Christian, What it means to become a Christian, What is Baptism and the Lord’s Supper?, Writing and sharing your testimony, What is a church?, Stewardship, How to Grow as a Christian, etc.
These thoughts above are from Cathy Hopkins, one of our partners in the ministry based out of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Her primary focus is working alongside churches in children and family matters. For more information about how she can help you, contact her at 919.612.1085 or email@example.com.
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