Leading from the 2nd Chair
The Opportunities of Summer
The Opportunities of Summer
Summertime is just around the corner and with it comes a different kind of opportunity in children’s ministry. It has been a push in recent years for children’s pastors to remind parents that they are the primary spiritual leaders of their children. Conferences and workshops have told us to basically tell the parents, “The church is here to support and encourage you, but this is really your job.” While this is true, Deuteronomy 6.6-9 gives parents the directive “…make sure your children learn”; this has led children’s leaders to feel confused in their roles and left parents overwhelmed. In my experience parents want to lead their children spiritually, but may feel inadequate and not know where to begin. Here we, as children’s ministry leaders, find a new way to serve families and summer is a great time to help families take those first steps.
If your church is like mine, attendance will be a roller coaster during the summer months with people on vacation, taking weekend trips to the lake, and generally finding other things to do on beautiful days. Rather than taking on a “woe is me” attitude because of an occasional dip in attendance, provide parents with tools and resources to help them gain confidence in having spiritual discussions with their children. Compile an email list of families in your children’s ministry department and send a weekly reminder of the last Sunday’s lesson. Include the scripture, a few open-ended questions, a simple hands-on activity, and a prayer starter. Create a summer Family Fun Devotion guide based on ten favorite Bible stories (or little known stories, might be the way to go). Encourage families to pick a verse to learn that relates to their vacation and to make it the theme for the week. Assemble fun “get to know you” style questions for families to keep in their cars and discuss while traveling. Further keep families connected by inviting them to keep you up-to-date with the discussions that happen in their families. Let them know you are there to help them with questions the kids pop on them and encourage on-going conversation.
When back-to school time rolls around and life returns to normal, welcome families with open arms. They will come to church proud of how their family has grown and you can know that you have equipped them in raising people of God.
Tonya Marks is a 1995 Graduate of TNU and completed her MA in Christian Education from NNU in 2008. She has served as the Children’s Pastor at Columbia (TN) Grace Church of the Nazarene since 1999. Her husband, Tracy, is her right hand man in ministry. Together their three favorite Grace Kids are Jay, Jeana Ruth and Levi.