In the last 48 hours, from my kids, I’ve had two disproportionate hissy fits, one refusal to go to school in trousers that did not have holes in, an ongoing monologue about why we should get rats (already named) as pets, three complaints over lunch or dinner menus, but also more cuddles than I can count, a delightful summary of the latest reading book (“It’s all a bit of a cat-ah-strophe!”), one reading certificate, one achievement assembly and one blissful hour of children playing harmoniously together without argument. Parenting can be a rollercoaster! We can often feel like we’re making it up as we go along and our spiritual life as a family can be a bit like this too. Some of us will have grown up in a family where we shared faith together – but maybe the things you did together with your parents/carers don’t work for you and your kids – maybe the different pressures on time and family life necessitate a different approach? Maybe sharing faith at home wasn’t part of your childhood and you’re not sure where to start with your own kids? You might be already finding different ways of sharing faith at home, but are wondering “Is it enough?”, “Am I really reaching my kids – is God reaching my kids?”, “Is this setting them up for a lifelong relationship with Jesus of their own?”, or simply, “Am I doing this right?!”.
Of course, the answer to that is that there is no definitive answer! What works for one family may not work for another and what works for one child or one parent may not work for another. What we do know is that parents and other significant adults are potentially the biggest influences on a child’s journey of faith. What we also know is that children are much more likely to find faith that lasts, if they feel that they are a valued part of a church community. This supports a belief in our children’s ministry that parents/carers and the wider church family can all play a part in helping kids nurture their relationship with Jesus. We’ve talked in the past about what it means to be an ‘intergenerational church’, or, if you like a family, where the members of all ages invest in their relationships with each other and discipleship happens across generations.
So, we want to invite you to get involved! Come and join the conversation about faith in families. Here are three ways for starters: Come and see the performance of Where Adventure Begins here at St John’s on Sat 10th March, guaranteed to get us all thinking! Jo Foster of New Wine says, “I was completely blown away with how brilliant it is. It really is phenomenal… I have spent a lot of time praying for Where Adventure Begins and I believe that this tour is going to be instrumental in what God is doing in the nation this year… there is an anointing on this production – one that I believe with have a significant impact on our church life.”
You could also come along to the ‘Growing with God’ conference, run by the Birmingham Diocese Growing Younger Team, a day conference for parents and those involved in children’s work on 3rd March, details coming soon. Join our parenting course. We’ll be running this later in the spring, with a specific focus on faith sharing with children and young people and supporting families. Dates and information on how to sign up to follow. Maybe you could lend your support by helping to facilitate some of these events? Or even babysitting so friends or family can attend?
It is never too late to start exploring faith together at home and it is never too early to start thinking about how you will continue that journey of faith with your children as they grow older. Let us seek to equip, encourage and empower each other as we travel this road together.
Sticky Faith – Powell, Griffin, Crawford (Zondervan).
Supporting the Family as a Place of Spiritual Nurture, Jane Butcher, Faithful Generation, (Children Matter/Presence Books)