If church can be defined as a people group passing on the culture of grace, what could this “passing on” look like in the area of children and families?
Although children and their parents make up much of the church and leadership of the family makes up a broad portion the church, many moms and dads feel inadequately prepared for this task. Additionally, fewer parents are Christian and may not have a faith to pass on. Some parents who are Christians do not have an adequate river of understanding and relationship with Christ to pass on that faith in healthy ways.
To lead children and their families, church leaders may need to take a two-pronged approach: leadership with parents and with children. Parents are in need of the casual mentorship of fellowship – people who can stand with them and for them when the diapers pile up or the car doesn’t start. They need people who can tell them that God is still with them and help them be givers of grace when grace seems hard to grasp. They need opportunities to rest. Rather than a barrage of helpful (and sometimes time-stealing programs), most parents need the ability to make personal time with Jesus. Parents are just as human as anyone else and can’t do it alone. That means children also need the leadership of the church family in all its diversity.
In the Church, children need mentors who will teach them grace-filled faith through the way they live. So, children need a community of faith – a people group – who are convinced that passing on the culture of grace is from each member to each member.
Leadership of children may, sometimes, come from the inclusion of children in the worship service or from ministries established just for children. However, more is needed. The inclusion of children and parents in one or two ministries will never be adequate. Families need friendships and mentors who will guide them in the way of grace.